Map Archive

Crumpled City by Emanuele Pizzolorusso for Palomar

Milan designer Emanuele Pizzolorusso has created a series of maps for Italian brand Palomar that are designed to survive being screwed up and stuffed into a pocket or bag.

Called Crumpled City, the products are made of a soft waterproof material to avoid dammage when put away without folding carefully along the original creases.

Palomar presents Crumpled City soft city maps for urban jungles

For centuries, MAPS have been irreplaceable learning tools. They have to do with travelling, discovery, adventure. The Crumpled City Map reinterprets an object which, historically, has been synonymous with exacting precision and manual skills. Actually, maps must be opened, folded to find what we are interested in and then folded away, preferably along the original folds of the paper.

But, how often are such operations difficult and frustrating? Especially when we are lost and have to pull out of our pockets or our bag a map that often, through use and the difficulty of folding it, has turned into a mass of wet, swollen paper, which forces us to engage in impossible exercises in the art of “origami” to consult it and finally get our bearings!

These are the reflections around which the Crumpled City Maps have been designed: maps that are soft, extremely light but very strong, perfectly waterproof, designed to be quickly put away in their bag, without having to be folded but just scrunched up, rolled up into a ball. Crumpled City, indeed.

At the core of the design is this ‘playing’ with gestures: this allowing people to do something that is usually “forbidden”, that is to simply scrunch up a document. It is a liberating, fun act, especially if you do it with something that you are not going to throw away, but which is actually made to be kept and reused.

The Crumpled City range includes the most interesting cities in the world. Along with the usual ‘SightSeeings’, each map also provides a unique, unusual list of ‘SoulSights’, places of the soul, places selected to thrill you. Weighing only 20 grams, it is super resistant and 100% waterproof.

My Scratch Map

Imagine being able to subtly show off exactly where you’ve been on your holidays. Well, with the My Scratch Map scratch-off maps, it’s easy to make anyone who pops round feel thoroughly jealous of exactly how well-travelled you are. On first glance, it’s quite a classy-looking wall map, but if you carefully scratch off the places you’ve been on holiday, it reveals some lovely colourful and geographic detail. More importantly, though, it’s perfect for letting everyone know how exotic, learned and very Palin-esque you are.

The top layer of the map is gold foil for easy scratching, and you only need to rub it with the edge of a coin, scratch-card style, to reveal the gorgeous detail underneath. This makes a super gift for anyone who’s been around a bit (geographically speaking, obviously), and a great talking point for wherever you might hang it. The only problem might be the excessive amounts of money you’ll have to spend on trotting around the globe so you can finally reveal that missing patch of Belize or Inner Mongolia that you so desperately want to see the detail of. Palin’s one would be amazing.

Symbolic Subway Maps by Zero Per Zero

Korean design studio Zero Per Zero reimagines subway maps by infusing them with symbolic meaning. Conceived as a new way of projecting an identity of a city onto its transport map, City Railway Systems retains its functional use while capturing the character of a city.
Taking inspiration from a city’s history, each map is unique. What a nice way to welcome tourists and a wonderful way to experience some meaningful art.

New York City

New York City’s map inspired by the shape of heart from Milton Glaser’s I<3 NY logo. Five boroughs are laid out in the heart shape, and then subway lines are mapped over it. Famous landmarks and attractions such as Empire State Building are added on the map at the end so that it can give a sense of New York City as a tourist spot.


Seoul’s map is inspired by the Tae-Geuk mark of the national flag of Korea. Seoul boasts 600 years of history as the capital of the nation. Han River, flowing across the city from east to west, has been the driving force for development of the capital city and is symbol of the long history of the Korean Peninsula.

Tokyo Railway

Tokyo’s map is inspired by the circle of the national flag of Japan (Hinomaru). Concentric circling lines spread out to the entire city with the center of the Yamanote line. This map includes more than 1500 stations and more than 100 lines covering not only Tokyo but also the surrounding region of Yokohama, Chiba, Omiya, Hachioji, Kawagoe. This many and complicated lines, and subways to make it easy for visitors to determine which line to take at a glance.


Osaka is closely tied to the surrounding cities of Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Many people traveling to Osaka also visit the neighboring cities. This map connected this concept with octopus as the main ingredient of Takoyaki (Tako in Japanese), the octopus dish Osaka is known for. In this map, the Osaka metropolitan is visualized as an octopus with the head being Osaka and the legs sprawling out to the other four cities.


Barcelona equals Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect who was famous for his unique designs. This makes sense since his works can be seen throughout the city. His designs can be characterized by curves borrowed from nature and by his unique style of mosaic using tiles.


Hokkaido is one of four large islands of Japan. This region is famous for its powder snow, and its winter landscape attracts visitors who come to experience the spectacular view of snow-covered forested field and mountain. Yuki Matsuri, also called Sapporo Snow Festivals in English, is globally well-known. This map chose snow as a symbol of Hokkaido and sets it as concept of its railway map. The whole island is visualized as a snow crystal.