What's your favorite place and why? CityFabric is a simple, yet effective way of using maps to talk about your place, physically and experientially. CityFabric uses diagrammatic figure-ground maps to depict cities in an abstract and graphically innovative way via T-shirts and hand stretched prints. Deemed "urban landscape and design" you can wear, CityFabric presents a set of valuable tools for any citizen (not just designers) to visually tell a story and initiate a dialogue about their place.
—2011 Student Awards Jury
Provide a simple and effective, yet innovative communication tool for community members to talk about their place. Through a simple, educational map infused with different products, individuals are provided with a means to talk about their city via a contemporary take on the historic Nolli map. The Nolli map-type "figure-ground" has served as a vital tool for landscape architects, architects and planners alike for centuries. CityFabric examines the value of the figure-ground with the non-designer, attempting to introduce a new visual language to better understand and talk about the urban landscape.
Everyone, especially the non-designer. As much as we are landscape architects, planners and designers admire and love maps of our place, these figure-grounds reach is beyond the design niche market. The intended audience for CityFabric is any who wants to talk and learn about the place that they love. The simplistic and non-touristy map is meant to encourage resident tourism while helping build civic pride for your city. To date, community action committee members, middle-schoolers, soccer moms, doctors, city councilmen and design enthusiasts alike are all currently supporting the idea of CityFabric.
There are different ways to look at, talk about and support the place that we live. The physical environment, open space and real estate development patterns have a profound impact on the way that we translate the place that we live. CityFabric offers a new and innovative way to examine, observe and analyze your city. Each product is coupled with "nutritional facts" about each city's past events that have led to each particular figure-ground.
Impact & Effectiveness
A quasi-network of these maps is sprouting up in Raleigh and the triangle. People are very eager and exciting to talk about where they live. We have been approached by a variety of for profit and non-profit organizations (including schools) about partnering on different projects that focus on visually capturing and discussing a place.
Physically, digitally, virally, word-of-mouth, face-to-face and interactively. As a summer project, CityFabric started as a way to talk to people about their city in a different way. 75 shirts were originally printed with a figure-ground map on them to be sold at a local arts market in the heart of downtown for a First Friday event. The dialogue about our hometown city was non-stop from 6pm until well after midnight (when the market shut down). We were blown away with how excited people were to talk about their city, learn about their city and talk about the built environment. We are now in 5 stores, 3 in Raleigh, 1 in Chicago and 1 in Boston. We recently curated an exhibition using our canvases titled "City Scaled: Observations in Urban design, Planning and Development". The exhibit has been a huge success, allowing visitors to interact with 15 different, 1'=500' scale, hand-stretched canvas maps of cities.
(By request, the exhibit is going to continue at a second location after two successful months in the downtown studio/store Stitch)
Circulation & Distribution
We write a blog titled "Building CityFabric" which supports the CityFabric brand. The site offers a transparent view into the business decisions that are made and projects pursued, as well as any/all things that interest us about the "places" that we build and live in.
Additional Project Credits
Collaborator & Partner
Handmade Bag Collaboration & Exhibit Space
Photography & Support