Blue Crow Media publishes city maps for the living room

by time news

GStraightforward typographies, filigree drawings and harmonious color contrasts – this is what distinguishes the city maps from Blue Crow Media. But the topics and metropolises about which the small map publisher publishes are unconventional. Only one thing is certain: it is always about architecture and design – whether in Tbilisi, London, New York, Sydney, Pyongyang or Berlin. The independent publisher, which is based in the East End of London, was founded by designer Derek Lamberton in 2009. It was initially an experiment to see whether an alternative card design and special architectural themes would appeal to the public, he says. The first map to come out of print, the Brutalist London Map, featuring the brutalist icons of the British capital, was a success and sold 100,000 copies around the world.

The design of the card is minimalist. A map of London is indicated in three shades of gray, over which the structures of 50 buildings are applied in bright red – the Barbican Center, the Royal National Theater, but also lesser-known constructions such as the Trellick Tower or the Casson Pavilion. The cover shows residential towers in Croydon, 30 stories high, monstrous, brutal.

The most absurd trees in the British capital

For each of the cards, Blue Crow Media works with architectural historians, sociologists and writers. You write the texts on the back. The maps are therefore small works of art in themselves – including the subway plans that Blue Crow Media painstakingly reproduces. These are now available for the New York City Subway, the London Tube and the Paris Métro. The publisher also repeatedly issues series – such as “Brutalist Montreal” or “Art Deco New York”.

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The DIN-A 2-format cards are always two-sided. While carefully mapped plans show the architectural features of the cities on the front, the back has high-quality photos and texts about the history of architecture. Card design has become more and more experimental over the years. In early 2021, a glowing dark green card titled “Great Trees of London” was published, designed by Paul Wood and gathers the most absurd trees in the British capital, including the 2000-year-old Totteridge-Yew trees in north London, the gnarled Royal Oak Trees in Richmond Park and the trees at Windrush Square Memorial in Brixton.

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