Giorgia Lupi is an award winning information designer.
She co-founded Accurat, a data-driven design firm with offices in Milan and New York where she is the design director. She received her M-Arch at FAF in Ferrara, Italy, and earned a PhD in Design at Politecnico di Milano.
She relocated to New York City from Italy where she now lives. She is co-author of Dear Data, an aspirational hand drawn data visualization book you will find in bookshops in the US (Princeton Architectural Press) and UK (Penguin Random House UK). The original set of postcards has been recently acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
She recently gave a TED TALK on her Humanistic approach to Data.
Giorgia Lupi sees beauty in data.
With her practice, she challenges the impersonality that data communicate, designing engaging visual narratives that re-connect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas.
What sets Giorgia apart is her humanistic approach to the world of data.
Her work frequently crosses the divide between digital, print, and handcrafted representations of information: primarily, she draws with data.
She has a passion for and obsession with data, the material she uses to tell stories, and the lens through which she sees the world.
Data are often considered to be very impersonal, boring, and clinical, but her work proves the opposite.
She makes sense of data with a curious mind and a heterogeneous arsenal, which ranges from digital technology to exhausting and repetitive manual labor. She believes we will ultimately unlock the full potential of data only when we embrace their nature, and make them part of our lives, which will inevitably make data more human in the process.
Trained as an architect, Giorgia has always been driven by opposing forces: analysis and intuition, logic and beauty, numbers and images. T
rue to these dichotomies, in 2011 she started both her own company and studying for a PhD.
She earned her Doctorate in Design at Politecnico di Milano, where she focused on information mapping, and is now the Design Director and co-founder of Accurat, a global, data-driven research, design, and innovation firm with offices in Milan and New York.
She relocated from Italy to New York City, where she now lives.
Thanks to her work and research, Giorgia is a prominent voice in the world of data.
She has spoken at numerous events and institutions around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, PopTech Conference, Eyeo Festival, Fast Company Innovation by Design, Visualized, the International Journalism Festival, Wired Next Fest, Strata Conference, and the New York Public Library. She has lectured at New York University, Columbia University, the New School, the School of Visual Arts, University of Central London, Helsinki’s Alvar Aalto University, and Politecnico di Milano, among others.
She has been featured in major international outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, NPR, CBC, BBC, Time magazine, Business Insider, Forbes, National Geographic, Scientific American, Popular Science, Wired, Flash Art, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Monocle, Print magazine, Creative Review, Fast Company, El Pais, and Corriere della Sera.
Her work has been exhibited at the Design Museum, the Science Museum, and Somerset House in London; the New York Hall of Science and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York; at the Triennale Design Museum and the Design Week in Milan, and at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art in Israel, among others.
With her company, Accurat, she has worked with major international clients including IBM, Google, Microsoft, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, the European Union, the Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Unicredit Group, and KPMG Advisory.
She has won numerous awards, including multiple gold medals at the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards in 2013, 2014, and 2015, a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in 2013, and the "Lezioni di Design" Prize at Milan’s Design Week in 2016. She was nominated for the Design Museum Beazley Design of the Year in 2016, and was shortlisted for the Innovation By Design Awards, also in 2016.
Giorgia is co-author of Dear Data, an aspirational hand-drawn data visualization book that explores the more slippery details of daily life through data, revealing the patterns that inform our decisions and affect our relationships.
Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
What others say:
“Giorgia Lupi is the personification of grace under pressure. Of exquisite design grace under overflowing data pressure! Data visualization is a normal part of our information diet, but only a few designers are able to achieve utmost clarity and at the same time memorable elegance. Moving seamlessly between digital and analog space, Giorgia transforms even the driest quantitative analysis into a touching moment of humanity and poetry.”
----- Paola Antonelli
“Giorgia’s work deftly combines the natural fluidity of her hands in ways that overpower the often rigid, heartless smell of data.”
------ John Maeda
“Giorgia Lupi bridges imaginative wildness and deliberate creative constraint to illuminate the most human and humane dimensions of what we so coldly term "data" – the sum total of our habits, experiences, and unquantifiable fragments of being that make us who we are.”
------- Maria Popova
I am an Italian information designer living in New York.
I have always been a data collector in my life, I remember how, as a child, I loved to collect and organize all kind of items into transparent folders that I would then tag with maniacal care. Colored pieces of papers, little stones, pieces of textiles from my grandmother’s tailor-shop, buttons, sales receipts and many more formed my collections, and I remembers the pleasure of categorizing my treasures according to their colors, sizes and dimensions and drawing tiny labels to specify how to read them.
But It wasn’t until later in my life that I discovered the word “data” and its marvelous extensions.
It wasn't until lately, in fact, that I started working with data visualization. It came natural to me to progressively focus more on the quantitative side within the information design field, and when I got to understand the true potential of working visually with structured data to convey information about phenomena or contexts, I immediately felt in love with this world and the realm of possibility it opens.
I see data visualization as the combination of my ‘artistic’ (or, better said, emotional) side and my rational and scientific one; I have a background in architecture and my mind needs to structure and organize information, but my eyes and my spirit need to see and invent unexpected visuals every time.
I enjoy designing visual artifacts that have a logical and structural sense, I don’t take pleasure in producing graphic designs per se, I do instead take pleasure in shaping visual ways to represent quantitative and rigorous parameters.
What drives me in what I do is the overlapping space between analysis and intuition, between logic and beauty, between numbers and images.
My work in information visualization frequently crosses the divide between digital and print, exploring visual models and metaphors to represent rich data-driven stories. Both in my day job and in my personal research as a data visualization designer and artist, I focus my practice on experimenting on new visual ways and new visual languages to represent datato make it more “humane” more “contextual” and engaging, and definitely less scary and cold.
I draw and sketch a lot with data, this is really my entry point to understanding what is in the number and what are the most interesting and “tailored” / appropriate visual representation of it according to their very nature and kind, which is different every time. I sketch with data even when - as the 99% of the times happen - the final output is digital.
In my work with data, I always start from sketching, and I approach data in a very handcrafted way.
Sketching with data, and removing technology from the equation before bringing it back, introduces novel ways of thinking, and ultimately leads to designs that are uniquely customized for the specific type of data problems we are working with. I draw to freely explore possibilities. I draw to visually understand what I am thinking, I draw to evaluate my ideas and intuitions by seeing them coming to life on paper, I draw to help my mind thinking without limitations, without boundaries. I see data in my drawings.
With my work I question a merely technological approach to data. Data is more than numbers, it always represents real life, it can be a snapshot of the world in the same way that a picture catches small moments in time. With my work, I challenge the impersonality that data might communicate, designing visual narratives that connect numbers to what they stand for: knowledge, behaviors, people.
After graduating in Architecture, I have been involved in multidisciplinary projects in the information, technology and interaction design fields; investigating the role that data can have to describe architectural practices as a visual designer for experimental architecture firm LEAA, and experimenting on data-driven interactive visual storytelling in physical spaces within my collaboration with N!03 studio. I then joined Interaction Design Lab where I led a design team working on urban mapping projects.
In 2011 I started a PhD in Design Milan Politecnico, at Density Design Lab where I researched on the potential of text mining methods applied to geo-localized User Generated content to extract and analyze pattern of usage of urban environments. Part of my PhD Thesis has been published as a text book from Springer. I obtained the title of PhD cum Meritum in 2014, after a 6 months period as a visiting researcher at the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping in New York.
In 2011, I also co-founded Accurat, an information design agency based in Milan and New York; Accurat analyzes data and contexts and designs analytical tools and visual narratives that provide awareness, comprehension and engagement.
At Accurat, we’ve been designing a series of exploratory data-visualizations within our 2 years long collaboration with La Lettura, Corriere della Sera. In this collaboration we always aimed at opening new perspectives in the newspaper-editorial field, and higher aimed at educating readers’ eyes to get familiar with new visual ways to convey the richness of the data stories we are telling rather than simplifying them.
Our work for La Lettura won major international awards such as the Gold Medal for Data Visualization at the Information is Beautiful Awards, The Gold Medal for Data Journalism at the Strata Conference, a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Festival among all. It has been featured and mentioned on several outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Brain Pickings, among all.
In the last 5 years at Accurat, we collaborated successfully with banks and financial institutions, large and small tech ventures, major publishers and media companies, international public bodies and businesses across different industries. We have been designing and developing interactive experiences to bring people closer to understanding the real value of information through visual data-narratives of different kinds.
One of the most challenging work of the past year was our collaboration with Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. We conceived and deployed what we called Friends in Space, a 6 months long open window to let people interact with her while she was on the I.S.S. part of the Futura 42 Mission: a data driven experience based that focused on the importance of reconnecting numbers to what they stand for: people, behaviors, our lives.
In 2014 I started a year long analog project called Dear Data: a life changing collaboration with London based data illustrator Stefanie Posavec. Every week and for a year we’ve been manually collecting our personal data around a shared topic, used this data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, and then dropped the postcard on the mailbox to be delivered to the other person. We’ve been getting to know each other through our data and with our drawings, with the goal of showing that data is not scary and not necessarily big but ever present in our daily life, and you don’t need to be a statistician or a programmer to approach it.
The project has turned into a book published by Penguin, Particular Books in the UK, and by Princeton Architectural Press in the US.
A selection of our postcards has been displayed at the StoreFront for Art and Architecture in New York, the Science Museum in London, the Somerset House in London, the Milan Design week. Dear Data won the Gold Medal for Data visualization and the Most Beautiful Project Award at the Information is Beautiful 2015. We had the pleasure to give the opening Keynote Speech at the Eyeo Festival, and the Closing Keynote at the Visualized Conference in 2015. Dear Data has been nominated for the DesignMuseum Beazley Designs of the Year 2016, and is among the finalists for the Innovation By Design Awards 2016. A full list of our interviews and press is available on the projects' pages.
The original collection of the Dear Data postcards and the preparatory sketchbooks is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Currently, I am the Design Director at Accurat and I direct the New York office.
In my PopTech talk, I spoke about how we always associate data with more efficiency, more automation, while I argue we can absolutely use data to become more human, to connect with ourselves and others at a deeper level, if we design the right ways to do it.
My current personal research focuses in various way on how we can investigate and reveal aspect of our human life and essence through the world of data.
In a 10 page essay that is published on Print-Mag in the Fall 2016 Issue, I explored and defined what I call DATA HUMANISM, that I hope will be the next and new way to approach data in our lives.
I recently gave a TED talk about my humanistic approach to Data Visualization.