New “crumpled” city maps for tourists

Milan-based industrial designer Emanuele Pizzolorusso centers on themes of sustainability and durability in his work. A 2008 honors graduate of the Politecnico di Milano, Pizzolorusso’s oeuvre includes a waste paper bin made entirely out of recycled paper (designed with Ricardo Nannini and Domenico Orefice) and an award-winning prototype of a map of Rome’s fountains.

It is Pizzolorusso’s crumpled, crushable city maps, however, that are likely to pique the interest of the travel industry. Produced by Florence-headquartered Palomar, these maps are made of tough waterproof material. They weigh around 20 grams (.7 ounces), can be opened and closed in seconds, and include key tourist sites. (Wonder how many if any of the German capital’s famous public toilets have made it onto the Berlin map.)

Maps collapse into a very small configuration for convenient travel and are sold with a pouch for easy transportation. With these crumpled maps, rushed travelers won’t have to obsess over finding the creases in their maps for precise folding.

Thus far, Palomar has produced maps for five cities, New York, Paris, London, Rome, and Berlin. Hamburg is up next, and Pizzolorusso tells me that another five or ten maps, depicting cities in the US and Asia, are on deck. Crumpled maps can be purchased for €12 ($16) on Palomar’s site. In the US, maps are distributed by Ameico, and are currently retailing for $18.