Curious Trends


Retro maps and vintage style travel in design

Retro maps have been appearing on items of clothing and furniture for a few years now. Our desire to re-chart the journeys of yesteryear appears to be ongoing, and tinged with nostalgia - perhaps in an attempt to cling on to the world and as we used to know it and re-engage with our heritage. But has our interest in vintage cartography and travel related memorabilia reached its peak? Maps showing the pink parts of the Commonwealth, old nautical charts, antiquarian-style globes and well worn leather luggage are just a part of the curious trend that currently shows no signs of going away:

Annie Greevenbosch, a design student at Goldsmith’s University London wanted to put the romanticism back into travel. Her view is that journeys made by rail allow the traveller to celebrate the histories that accompany them en route – to appreciate the sights and sounds of travel rather than letting the journey become a ‘blur’ between two places. Greenbosch created a special vintage style travel pack for the sentimental traveller.

Chloe Hoare’s final collection at Winchester School of Art had a similar concept. “My final collection was named A Tattered Tale, it was based on vintage shops and street market. I aimed to capture the quirkiness of the bits and bobs you would find in such places, which all mean something different to different people. To one person these interesting objects could be junk but to another they could be a collectable. For my collection I produced a series of notebooks and accessories to match; such as gift wrap, bags and tags. There are seven collections all together.”

Elsewhere in student collections there has been evidence of old fashioned modes of transport ranging from retro style bicycles to yachts and steam trains.

And at craft fairs and in contemporary design, there’s also been evidence of the ongoing urge to travel back in time.

Items of furniture seen include a map fabric chair:
A hanging globe mobile/sculpture:

Cut-out designs on old maps as contemporary artworks:

A company called Globee Ltd, offers ‘a globee full of memories’. Each of their kitsch, modern globes represents a single city using retro style illustrations. Curiously, the Globee (which comes in several sizes) also talks and lights up - and is supplied with a booklet containing additional details about the popular city landmarks and tourist sites depicted:

And finally, the quirky combination of cartography and ketchup - as seen on the novel tables at a Caribbean holiday resort:

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