• UBS to unveil ‘Nexus’, an interactive sculpture by Elaine Yan Ling Ng at the Greater China Conference (7-11 January 2019, Shanghai)
  • New iterations of the modular design installation to feature in the UBS Lounges at Taipei Dangdai and Art Basel in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, 3 January 2019 - UBS today announced the commission of a touring modular installation by Chinese-British designer, Elaine Yan Ling Ng, which explores global air quality. A family of modular sculptures, inspired by nature and technology, Nexus will be launched at the UBS Greater China Conference next week (7-11 January). The interactive output of the sculpture is powered by a feed of big data from a set of more than 8,000 air quality monitoring stations around the world, and analyzed by UBS Evidence Lab, a specialist research facility within UBS.

The World Health Organisation has identified air pollution as a "public health emergency" and, as international awareness of the issue has increased, air quality is becoming more regulated to alleviate the situation, UBS Evidence Lab has analyzed data from the World Air Quality Index website to explore its potential effect on various industries. By inviting the public to interact with the information, Nexus seeks to present the data on a human scale.

"There’s mounting evidence of the damaging long-term effects of air pollution. Whereas most would see air pollution as a local problem, we see it as also having global connotations, and thus is of relevance to markets. Elaine Ng's sculptures represent both exquisite design work and a form of communication, turning invisible data into something visual and highlighting an important issue," said Julie Hudson, Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) analyst at UBS.

"Global air quality is such an important topic. We are breathing the same air, but in different cities it smells and tastes different. If you break it down and look into it Big Data represents numbers and figures that can inform design and help us to improve the way that we can live," said Elaine Yan Ling Ng.

"Visualization is key to data because the human mind is not particularly good at processing numbers. A sculpture like this can help people to see, in a very profound way, the impact of the data on the decisions that they're making. It gives an insight into the potential power of what's possible," said Barry Hurewitz, Global Head, Evidence Lab Innovations.

The designer's work follows the principles of biomimicry, inspired by the form and behaviors of networks of forest trees and their roots. The organic forms of the sculptures evoke how data communicates, much like a colony of plants, as a flow of information through a multitude of interconnected unseen networks and models.

The first sculpture will be launched at the Greater China Conference in Shanghai (7-11 January 2019) while the second will feature in the UBS Lounge at Taipei Dangdai, a new international art fair in the Taiwanese capital (18-20 January 2019), presented by lead partner UBS. The complete family of three sculptures will be shown in the UBS VIP Lounge at Art Basel in Hong Kong, of which UBS is the Lead Partner (29-31 March 2019).

Through the interactive presentations, visitors will be prompted to select air quality data from different cities and countries which will create unique light performances akin to the composition of a piece of music. Lights along the body of the work will display the movement of accumulated data, translated through individually programmed LEDs into an organic flow of light visuals, which illustrate how the air quality has changed in the selected locations over the past two years.

Building on Ng’s practice of kinetic and often interactive design pieces, the new family of sculptures employs innovative craftsmanship with bespoke handwoven digital jacquard textiles built over a 3D printed frame to complement the lighting display. Nexus employs organic materials including paper pulp, bamboo weave, and copper yarn. The form of the forest network is mimicked through the texture and intricate details of both handmade and digitally produced elements.

For media inquiries about UBS’s partnership with Taipei Dangdai:

Nana Lee, Sutton
+852 6063 9014

For media inquiries about UBS and Contemporary Art:

Tamsin Selby, UBS
+41 79 433 66 06

Angel Yeung
+852 9725 0297

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About Elaine Yan Ling Ng

The British Chinese designer Elaine Yan Ling Ng, founded The Fabrick Lab in 2013. A graduate of Central Saint Martins in London where she earned her MA Design in Textile Futures with distinction, her practice brings together textiles, electronics, biomimicry and installations. Her work has been exhibited at V&A and Science Museum in London, among other major international institutions. She is a TED fellow and has worked with international design companies such as Nissan Design Europe and Nokia Design Beijing with multiple design awards, including the GGEF "Eco Innovator Award", Swarovski "Designer of the Future Award" and the Design of Asia Gold Award. www.thefabricklab.com

About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS' strategy is centered on our leading global wealth management business and our premier universal bank in Switzerland, enhanced by Asset Management and the Investment Bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient, and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.

UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 52 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 34% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 14% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 61,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

UBS has had a presence in Taiwan since 1988, and has offered wealth management solutions to high net worth individuals since 2000. In 2008, UBS WM Taiwan was granted licenses to open bank branches in Taichung and Kaohsiung. UBS Taiwan was named four years in a row Best Domestic Private Bank in Taiwan by Asian Private Banker from 2013-2016. In 2017, Private Banker International also named UBS Taiwan Best Private Bank in Taiwan (Foreign).

About UBS and Contemporary Art

UBS has a long history of supporting contemporary art. The firm has one of the world’s largest and most important corporate art collections and seeks to advance the international conversation about the art market through its global lead partnership with Art Basel and as co-publisher of the ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report'. UBS also has partnerships with fine art institutions including the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. UBS provides its clients with insight into the art market, collecting and legacy planning through its Art Collectors Circle and the UBS Art Competence Center. For more information about UBS’s commitment to contemporary art, visit ubs.com/art.

About UBS Evidence Lab

UBS Evidence Lab is a sell-side team of experts, independent of UBS Research, that work across 12 practice areas and 45 specialized labs creating insight -ready datasets. The experts turn data into evidence by applying a combination of tools and techniques to harvest, cleanse, and connect billions of data items each month. Since 2014, UBS Research Analysts have utilized the expertise of UBS Evidence Lab for insight-ready datasets on companies, sectors, and themes, resulting in the production of over 3,000 differentiated UBS Research reports. UBS Evidence Lab does not provide research, investment recommendations, or advice.