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A Global Perspective

There are trends that come and go—think neon sofas, salmon-colored plastic and drapery panels that weigh more than a wedding dress—and then there are the trends that last forever. Having been around almost as long as the wheel, maps and globes easily infuse a space with a bit of timeless and, should we say, worldly elegance.

Although many trends are touted as being limitless in terms of shape and style, few are actually able to live up to the statement. Maps, however, embody the magical formula. From three-dimensional to two, round and rectangular, modern and traditional, black and brown, metal and enamel, there is truly a style for anyone.

Still not convinced? Take the elevator to the second floor of the Riverviews Art Space and peek in at the studio of Omniterrum. The world-renowned globe retailer, which opened to the public in 2002, is filled to the brim with globes of every shape and size. You’re sure to find something that fits your own personal style and budget.

Mid-century enthusiasts will go gaga over the 1960s-era pieces on chrome bases, while traditionalists have been known to stand and stare at the details of an 18th-century beauty. Like a kid in a classroom, spin a globe and point a finger. Where you’ll stop, nobody knows, but you’re guaranteed to land on a timeless piece of history fit for your modern-day home.

Almost as legendary as her collection of antique globes, Omniterrum founder and owner Kimberly Soerensen takes exceptional pride in her work. Recognized the world over as a leading expert in her field, Soerensen specializes in providing both first-time and seasoned collectors with unique statement pieces.

“When I was a little girl, my grandfather would look at his globe with me, sharing the transient history of our family and historic geography in general,” Soerensen reminisced. “Globes combine my two passions: design and political history. There is nothing that combines form and function in a more beautiful manner.”

The first piece to be added to Soerensen’s collection was unearthed at a thrift store and cost her a cool $5.00.

“It caught my eye because it looked old and German. I thought it would be a fun challenge to figure out just how old it was based on political borders displayed. A passion was born!”

Soerensen’s ability to talk “globe” with anyone she encounters is an endearing quality that her clients can’t help but get lost in.

If you are looking to start or add to your own globe collection, consider Soerensen’s advice: “Condition is everything! Make sure the globe hasn’t been tampered with by having inappropriate replacement parts or coloring in missing pieces.”

She also pointed out that direct sunlight, although necessary for our planet, is bad news for earthly replicas. Wipe regularly with a feather duster or damp rag, and consider applying a museum wax to 18th-and 19th-century globes to protect the surface from naturally oily fingertips.

Translating this trend to match your home décor is a study in personal style. Traditional spaces lend themselves well to aged, detailed versions of the tabletop and floor globes available. Perch a collection of three or four on the top of your living room built-in, or let a single globe punctuate the end of your fireplace mantel.

For a modern home, play with avant-garde colors, such as models with black backgrounds and silver outlines. Have fun with the base here. Choose globes with sleek, streamlined brass or chrome foundations, or forgo the base entirely and invest in a suspended model.

Running low on tabletop space but eager to add the look to your home? Maps are another way to achieve the elegant vibe without talking up precious square footage. Make a big statement by scouring antique malls and estate shops for large-scale vintage schoolroom maps.

For those on a limited budget, the map and globe trend is a DIYer’s dream. The Internet is resplendent with variations on the theme, from framed map-covered mats to state details cut into heart shapes pinned to corkboard. A budget globe can easily be recreated with a candleholder, some super glue and a child’s kick ball spray painted with chalkboard paint.

“Again, globes are a fabulous representation of what happens when form and function merge,” Soerensen reiterated. “A fantastic design statement!”

What kind of statement are you ready to make?

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