When I was little I used to picture myself living my adult life in all sorts of exotic locals. From the perspective of a seven year old this meant I was somewhere in my twenties. I’d sit at my desk on those long winter nights when I was supposed be doing my homework, spin my Replogle globe with my eyes closed and then see where my finger would land. My imagination would take over from there and I was off making a movie in Morocco, sipping hot chocolate in Lyons or covering myself in baby oil on the beach at Rio. I’m sure it had very little to do with growing up in Madison and everything to do with wanting to be someone else with a more interesting life. My globe was my escape. My fascination with globes never ended, it only grew. There’s an amazing beauty in that simple form, a sphere covered in the colors of countries some of which no longer exist. Now the globes have grown from a means of escape to a part of our design vision. They’ve almost become signature pieces to our interior design projects. Rick and I have incorporated them into almost every space we’ve had of our own and many of the places we’ve designed for others.
Globes can be a very inexpensive design accessory. Most any multi-dealer antique store will have at least a half dozen globes on hand at any time. Whether we’re walking through a multi-dealer store in Ventura or popping in and out of the stalls at the Porte de Clignancourt flea market in Paris we tend to look for globes with history written all over them. We focus on the globes but sometimes the more interesting part may be the base. An old cast iron base or a wooden one are usually more interesting than the more prevalent metal ones, but like any rule there are always exceptions.
When we’re using globes in a design project we tend to go in one of two directions. Direction one is the single globe. Sometimes the globe itself is so spectacular that it needs to stand alone. The other option is sometimes they work better in groups. If we are going to group a bunch of globes together we look for globes with different sized diameters and bases that allow the globes to sit at varying heights. We found that some globes (the ones with the metal bases I just told you weren’t that great) have holes in their bases and this makes it possible to hang them horizontally. Now every time I find a globe with a hole in its base it all of a sudden makes that globe all the more attractive.
Another globe I’ve always been fascinated with is the chalkboard school globe. Every once in a while one turns up in a dusty booth at an obscure antique store, or at auction. They’re usually priced at the high end but I hold out hope there’s still one out there with my name on it. This one is a great reproduction available at Pottery Barn.
Another thing to look for are globes of things other than our earth. Here we did score, years ago, at ABC Home before it was ABC Home. This was when the fourth floor was filled with aisles of antique armoires from Europe. Perched on a Swedish pine hutch was a green lunar globe. At first I thought the globe had a defect, a part of the globe was blank. But I was quickly informed that because the moon does not spin on an axis there’s a part of the moon we never see. Now that we have the ability to travel through space the back of the moon is no longer a mystery but when this globe was made the moon still clung on to its secret part.
We’ve now spent time sitting on the piazza in Siena, riding a camel around the pyramids at Giza and sitting on Shell beach in St. Barts. The wunderlust that those first globes generated will never be quenched and our home will never be without a globe. We’ll still want to spin those paper mache orbs, close our eyes and see where our finger will land.
GLOBES WE LIKE
Wendy Gold started cutting and pasting images onto toilet seats back in 2001. Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, it takes a remarkable talent to convert a toilet seat into a piece of art. www.artdetoilette.com. Now Wendy has turned her creative energy from the bathroom to the world at large. Globes are now her medium, globes with decoupage whimsy wrapped and shellaced around their spherical outer shells. Her new venture is called ImagineNations and you can find her at www.artonglobes.com. She’s willing to consult with you and produce custom work that’ll make your head spin along with your globe.
WORDS TO THE WISE
Named after Charles Boyle, the Fourth Earl of Orrery, in the early seventeen hundreds, an orrery is a mechanical device showing the relative relationship and motions of the planets and moons in our solar system. I'm sure they were the inspiration for Rube Goldberg. Some move with the precision of a Swiss watch while others have a folk art primitive quality. These pieces are usually reserved for the professional collectors.
A LITTLE GLOBE HISTORY
According to site www.aboutworldglobes.com the oldest known globe was made by Martin Behaim in Neuremburg, Germany sometime around the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The globe shows Africa and Asia but leaves out the Americas. I guess Columbus didn’t make it back in time to get his discovery included here.
All Watched Over… 2006Represented by Michael Mazzeo Gallery, New York