Is Data Beautiful? The Art of Adrien Segel

This past spring I enjoyed a glorious week of whitewater kayaking with Noah Weinstein at the incredible Otterbar Lodge on Northern California’s Salmon river.

Noah runs the Artists In Residence program at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco.  Autodesk is a long time big QlikView customer and the Pier 9 Workshop is a working lab that demonstrates and tests practical applications of Autodesk products.

During downtime at Otterbar Lodge, Noah introduced me to the work of sculptor Adrien Segel.  Adrien sources data sets of observations from the natural world and transforms those data into beautiful, fascinating and challenging sculptures.

Adrien’s “Wind at Ravenswood Slough” project visualizes wind speed and direction over a 48 hour period at a single location. The Y-axis (vertical) represents time, the X-axis (length of the bars) represent speed — and here’s the advantage of a physical 3-D rendition — the Z-axis indicates wind direction.

Mount wind-at-ravenswood-pic1the finished sculpture  at the site where the data was collected and you have a deep understanding and delightfully personal relationship with data.  Brilliant!





Check out some of Adrien’s other projects like the  Snow Water Equivalent Cabinet  I found this dataset personally  interesting because of my love of rivers and river seasons.  Adrien takes a direct approach in mapping the data and the  result is a functional, fascinating  and intimate piece of furniture.

Can data be beautiful?  I think so.







2 thoughts on “Is Data Beautiful? The Art of Adrien Segel”

  1. Wow. Thanks, Rob, for sharing the most artistic use of data I’ve seen. Tremendous craftsmanship, very inspiring. Hope the kayak trip was memorable.

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