Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Presenting Data in a New Light

BusinessWeek has an article on an interesting art and design display currently running at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The show, called "Design and the Elastic Mind," features 200 projects by a host of international designers and firms, and gives a nod to "hot" technologies and new economic opportunities and consumer products. Innovative processes represented in the exhibition including nanotechnology, design for new markets in developing.

"Lightweeds" is one of the many striking example of data visualization by young Dutch designer Simon Heijdens on display. The work features light projections of silhouettes of giant weeds with realistic stalks, stems, leaves, and buds.

The plant images are produced by a software program developed by the artist himself, and the computer it runs on collects live weather data via a sensor outside the museum. The plants' size, shape, and movement reflect real-life conditions outdoors.

The piece is one of the many incredible examples of how design can turn raw data into a display that communicates information in a compelling and engaging manner.
Businesses would be wise to pay attention to hip designers such as Heijdens, who also could have ideas for intriguing retail displays or arresting ways to communicate other data such as stock market fluctuations.

The next time you’re faced with another excel spreadsheet full of figures and data, perhaps you can draw some inspiration from the work on display at Design and the Elastic Mind and present your findings in more fascinating ways than on various bar graphs...