An architect by education, Giorgia Lupi probably never thought that the many fields she studied would land her speaking about information design at the EyeO Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota just a few weeks ago. Of the many things she delivered in her speech, she says that she wishes that she would be able to “play my role in making this small world of visualization more beautiful.”
Lupi spent her last year in school working on an architectural degree thesis that involved urban information mapping projects, which became the first time that data visualization sparked her interest. It was also a passion for contemporary dance and playing the piano that influenced the production of all of her work.
I am really visually influenced by music scores… Especially having to play with different kinds of layers of information and compose something that makes sense.
In her work, Lupi says that her main goal is to “find pleasing aesthetics to tell stories of data.” Representation is also another huge aspect to her job, and she says that her team at Accurat is constantly trying to produce beautiful pieces of work without losing the accuracy of the information.
I like to hear people say ‘oh, that’s beautiful,’ and have it be something that attracts them to read through the data… not just being attractive, but something that conveys information.
Lupi co-founded the interaction design lab Accurat in 2011 with the goal to “translate information into all different kinds of content.” She says that now that the team has grown to 20 people, the biggest difference since its beginning is the way that the staff chooses their projects – by “letting people work on something they really like.”
One of their most exciting projects is the column Visual Data on La Lettura, which translates into The Act of Reading. The column complements the newspaper Corriere Della Sera to design visual metaphors and diagrams to better tell a story with mass amounts of data. Lupi says that because they find all of their own datasets and information…
We have the chance to choose the topics that we want to explore, but other times it’s triggered by data events or other hot topics.
Another project, called “Visualizing Painter’s Lives,” does just that. Lupi describes it as “experimental,” stemming from a personal conversation over coffee with her good friend and talented illustrator Michela Buttignol. Together, they found a way to compare different artist’s lives and create elements and shapes from varying patterns and themes.
Another key thing that Lupi believes is that it is fundamental to look for inspiration in unusual contexts. With everyone playing with the same visualization tools these days, she says that it is “crucial to train ourselves to look with a critical approach at the things that we like – in all contexts.”
She says that she admires designers Alberto Cairo and Andy Kirk for their curious thinking and lively information, as well as Moritz Stefaner and Jer Thorp for the elegance of their dynamic narrations. Finally, Lupi says that Santiago Ortiz “should always be mentioned as a reference for anybody” as a master of creating functional and interactive designs.