On The Grid: Mapped Out Urban Textiles in Interior Design

An urban-planner-turned-designer explains the mapping trend.

Earlier this year, we predicted that 2012 would be the year of the urban grid. See it etched and sketched on everything from quilts to napkins, we foretold and behold:

The San Francisco quilt from Brooklyn-based Haptic Lab.

The Great Lakes Quilt, also by Haptic Lab.

Vintage map keychain from dlk designs.

“Maps on a cotton candy sugar rush,” from SoftCities. These reusable, toxin-free napkins are replete with pink terrain, purple highways and rainbow rivers.


We reached out to Matt Tomasulo, founder of CityFabric, Inc. (the company’s tagline is “Wear You Live”) to get his perspective on the gridding and mapping trend in fashion and interior design. Is it a natural meshing of techniques or indicative of a larger community context? The context being: a burgeoning sensibility of civic pride permeating the fabric of America’s urban centers.

We’re seeing so much of this gridding and mapping trend this year. As an urban planner and designer, what do you make of it?

I think the trend is great. The more people value and support their [city] the better. With greater access to information, particularly spatial data, the doors are opening for many more people to create cartographic designs who might not necessarily have a background in cities or mapping.

Is the trend indicative of a bigger social movement or increase in community activism? 

Where we live is becoming more and more important, so it’s only fitting that place-based goods are becoming more and more appealing. It will be interesting to see if cartographic products go deeper and tell a story that will outlast products that are simply beautiful graphic map[s].

Tomasulo has a valid point. In the meantime, there’s always the Museum of the City of New York. On now through July 15th are two exhibits called The Greatest Grid: The Masterplan of Manhattan and The Unfinished Grid: Design Speculations for Manhattan. The exhibitions celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which transformed New York City into the gridded masterpiece that it is today.

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.