Globes and maps have been decorative elements in homes for centuries. But the mapping company Pangea is pushing the medium forward–with topographic maps of the ocean floor, cut out of wood with precise detail. The company’s maps of the water bodies surrounding places like Boston, New York, and San Francisco, as well as locations in Australia and Canada, reveal the hidden layers of deeply familiar places. If it doesn’t already have a map of your favorite coastline or lake, you can order a custom one.
Pangea started out as the side project of the industrial designer Tom Percy, who has a love of water (he’s a windsurfer, water skiier, and sailor). The first map he made was of Moreton Bay in Australia, where he lives. To create each map, Percy uses CAD technology and bathymetric data–information about underwater landscapes–to draw a blueprint of the map. Eleven or more pieces of birch plywood are laser-cut, stacked, and glued together to create a stunning 3D map. The land is cut out of white acrylic, with the topography of the ocean floor left as the natural color of the wood. Each map weighs 10 pounds.