Maps have incredible transformative powers, particularly in terms of spatial analysis, visualisation and in decision-making. As maps have become ever-more ubiquitous in both our professional and private lives, have the new tools and approaches changed the way we respond to and engage with spatial data?

Many disciplines are increasingly leveraging mapping within their own toolkits and practice, though most have over-looked the rich theoretical and historical basis of the discipline of cartography, creating solutions they believe to be new and unique when in fact previous examples can often be found originating decades earlier. Such is the result of the sound-bite and out-sourced knowledge of the modern world, where people happily don the suit of other disciplines, but are not interested in it’s historical and theoretical depths—and therefore fail to realise the real potential.

Is our relationship with mapping different now? To what extent is this a reflection of technology or new forms of representation and graphic communication? Are we seeing the evolution of new paradigms for the spatial and projective disciplines that realise a change for mapping within transdisciplinary modes of practice? These are questions that inform his personal research.

Estranged Space

Originally conceived and founded in 2014 by Dr Mathew Emmett, David Littlefield and Jason Clark as a research vehicle to examine spaces which are behind, between, beneath or otherwise separated from normative spaces—those zones which are there, but forgotten, neglected or simply subservient—the liminal, the beyond, the uncanny, the elsewhere—the estranged.

Today, Estranged Space’s work, (re)defined and led by Dr Mathew Emmett and supported by Jason Clark, brings together the disciplines of cartography, graphic communication, architecture, art and multimedia performance in the exploration, creation and understanding of space. We work with a range of clients—site owners, developers, institutions—organisations who wish to subject spaces to closer examination, understanding and (re)interpretation. Our areas of interest include: mapping and perception, installation and projection, heritage and authenticity, and generative design and interaction.

We deploy a wide range of tools and techniques to explore the notions of perception, (re)interpretation, narrative, place and non-place. The practice has particular experience in site-responsive interventions in spaces which are contested, unsettling, hidden, lost, peripheral or displaced, but now extends this applied learning and research across a wider gamut that also concerns itself with the agency of mapping, the topologies of space, or the real and yet imagined worlds—the near and the elsewhere. Through spatial practice and interventions, we tell stories about places and spaces, encouraging new ways of understanding and reading space. We look for narratives within spaces and amplify them, re-present and re-frame them.

We embrace all formats of visual and audio communication, both established and new technologies and techniques. We also actively seek out new ways of applying technologies. We work as consultants, artists and designers across a range of experiences. Process is key to outcomes, which is revealed through our work—articles, insight, engagement, facilitation, workshops, teaching, strategic thinking, design systems and spatial research. Our practice is inherently collaborative and research-focused.

Rail/Bus Connectivity Map

Map showing rail/bus connectivity in the West of England (extracted as spread from distributed document)

Greengauge 21 champion high-speed rail on a day-to-day basis, but they also look to reveal other opportunities to improve public transport provision. [ … ]

Beyond HS2 Graphics

Chord diagram to demonstrate rail connectivity between UK cities

Commissioned by Greengauge 21, high-speed rail ‘champions’, Yellowfields created a mix of maps and infographics for a 200-page technical report which offers a comprehensive view of what Britain’s railway should look like by the middle of the century. [ … ]

Game Reserve Map

Extract from a map created for a South African game reserve

A land owner in South Africa commissioned Yellowfields to design and produce a map that depicted their 27,000 ha game reserve. [ … ]

Campus Plan

Example ‘heads-up’ map panel used on one of the wayfinding totems on the Goldsmiths University campus

Goldsmiths, University of London, commissioned Yellowfields to create a new campus map and sign artwork [ … ]

Square Up Wall Map

Extract from the wall map created for Square Up to use in their London HQ reception area

Square Up, a global financial services company, contacted Yellowfields to create a map-based artwork to cover a wall in their London HQ reception area. [ … ]

Bay Area Bike Share Maps

First concept extract of on-street mapping created for the Bay Area Bike Share Scheme, San Francisco, directed by City ID

Leading wayfinding practitioners, City ID, asked Jason to help create the base cartography for the Bay Area Bike Share project in San Francisco, USA. [ … ]

Ham & Petersham Map

Map developed for a book, adhering to typographic and graphic styles

Nick Avery Design commissioned Yellowfields to produce a supporting map for a book designed for self-publishing author, Vanessa Fison. [ … ]

Town Planning Graphics

Example document spread from a planning site promotion document

Starting with the first ever project, Yellowfields has provided supporting services to chartered town and country planning organisations. This has included planning application plans, Supporting Planning Statements (SPS) and Design and Access Statement documents (DAS). [ … ]

Riverside Wayfinding Map

Extract of mapping, including 3D landmarks, developed for Derby City Council for on-street wayfinding

Engaged by Derby City Council (DCC), Yellowfields has designed and produced the mapping for four new wayfinding signs. [ … ]

Walks of Churchill Map

Map developed for a book, adhering to typographic and graphic styles

Yellowfields was commissioned by Nick Avery Design to design and produce two maps to be used in a walking tour guide on Winston Churchill. [ … ]

Zombies, Run! Map

Imaginary geography created for a board game, ’Zombies, Run!’

A rather unusual request arrived from Six to Start, an independent games developer and entertainment company based in London. [ … ]

Mapping Samlesbury Hall

Extract of the visitor map created for Samlesbury Hall Trust

Yellowfields was engaged by Samlesbury Hall Trust, who maintain and run the historic house and grounds in Lancashire of the same name, to re-design and produce a new visitor map and accompanying floorplans. [ … ]

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