Carving a unique niche in wood maps

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The idea of creating maps out of wood is not new, but one Canadian design duo has carved out a unique niche in this arena by creating bathymetrically accurate wall art, with finely finished detail that shows intricate coastlines and the depths of glistening blue lakes and rivers.

The topographic relief carvings by Curae are made from responsibly sourced Ontario hardwoods, hand sanded and finished. The water features are CNC-carved into planks of wood, and the impression of the depth features is then filled with clear blue epoxy resin that is cured to produce a glossy finish, while the shade of blue turns darker as the water depths increase.

Each one-of-a-kind piece takes the designers anywhere from a dozen to hundreds of hours to produce, in a process that blends geographic techniques, illustration, 3D design and CNC technology. With such accuracy in play, the wooden artworks also function as depth charts, says the Curae team.

Since launching their design studio in downtown Kingston, Ontario, Robin Saunders and Grace Sylvester have produced their 3D maps and charts for customers worldwide, as far away as Hong Kong. 

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