Artwork photographed at the Castelo de S. Jorge, Lisbon 2008

I had documented a few thoughts and reactions in coming back from last years Offf in Barcelona. So, it seems pertinent to develop a little on these with regards to this years event in Lisbon. Amidst the numerous conferences given over the three day event, there was one line of work that underlined my initial thoughts on a shift in design and inspired interest beyond many who were simply happy to present online portfolios.

The key conference on data visualization makes for a complete write up. And I will have something up on the subject soon. Suffice to say for this post, that the panel of Aaron Koblin, Santiago Ortiz and Manuel Lima, presented by José Luis de Vicente, was a wonderful introduction to what is becoming an increasingly important development in design.

This links and is directly concerned with motion design. The dimensions of time and space have taken earlier works in visualization to another level, one that is non linear and interactive. I had recently posted a piece by French designer, Vadim Bernard which is entitled ‘Statistics’. This rather simple animated visualization is a brilliant and efficient example of what data visualization is about : The use of graphic representation of abstract data to communicate ideas as well as amplify cognition. Put simply, making data visibly meaningful. However, what we were presented with at Offf, was on a whole new level that takes the designer across the fence into fresh fields of science and computer programming of systems. This whole new breed of work not only brings together a multitude of disciplines it demands the very need to create communication across those disciplines and this is something that is becoming increasingly important. It marks a considerable shift in thinking about what ‘design’ is.

On another note, but one that links nicely to the above reflection, is the fascinating project set up by Chris O’Shea, Andreas Muller and Joel Gethin Lewis, entitled, ‘This happened…..’ The project focuses on interaction design and its process of creation, the purpose of which is to encourage participation from a variety of professional backgrounds.

In my post for last years event, I mentioned an increasing trend in research as part of the design studio set up. It appears the research is finally coming out of the lab and opening up new paths of reflection and creation. The future for design is exciting.