In-Formed: Physical Objects as Data Visualization
The other side of our silver platter, or what dinnerware and Africa have in common.
By Maria Popova
Data visualization is of special stature around here and makes frequent cameos — usually in the form of beautifully designed infographics or high-tech jaw-droppers. But designer Nadeem Haidary is creating a form of data viz so unorthodox and unexpected it constitutes its own genre — physical objects modified to visualize statistics about the activities they’re involved in.
The project, titled In-Formed, is part data visualization, part industrial design, part social awareness, exposing little-known facts designed to effect actual behavioral change by inspiring us to be a bit less wasteful.
It consists of three case studies, each embedding contextually relevant information into everyday objects related to the data.
[Statistics] may be striking when you first read them, but without context or placement in the physical world, they are rarely remembered and rarely change people’s behavior. What if this kind of information crawled off the page and seeped into the products that surround us?
There’s something incredibly powerful about infusing data with the physical reality it inhabits — an idea arguably pioneered by the incredible Chris Jordan, whom we’ve featured multiple times. It breeds a kind of visceral mindfulness missing from more traditional forms of data visualization — and, hopefully, that’s what makes the leap from awareness to action.
Published June 9, 2009