- The interactive installation, Nexus, by British-Chinese designer, Elaine Yan Ling Ng reveals UBS Evidence Lab big data on a human scale visualizing global findings on air quality across major cities
- UBS Evidence Lab data feeding Nexus shows that on average London experiences moderate pollution levels, unhealthy to sensitive groups, and double the average pollution levels of Berlin
- The installation will be presented as part of 2019's London Design Festival and the designer, Elaine Yan Ling Ng, will participate in the festival's Global Design Forum at the V&A Museum
London, 3 September 2019 – Coinciding with the launch of its inaugural ESG and Sustainability Symposium on 2 September, UBS presents an interactive installation by British-Chinese designer, Elaine Yan Ling Ng, which explores global air quality. Inspired by nature and technology, Nexus, is powered by a feed of big data from a set of more than 8,000 air quality monitoring stations around the world analyzed by UBS Evidence Lab, a specialist alternative data provider within UBS.
"Visualization is key to data because it helps the human mind to process large numbers more easily. An interactive design installation like this can help people to see, in a very meaningful way, the impact of data on the decisions that they're making," said Barry Hurewitz, Global Head, UBS Evidence Lab.
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 to highlight its potential effects at an industry level. By inviting the public to interact with the information, Nexus presents 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 installation represents 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.
Ng'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 installation evoke how data communicates, much like a colony of plants, as a flow of information through a multitude of interconnected unseen networks and models.
Through the interactive presentations, visitors will be prompted to select air quality data from different cities and countries which will create unique light and kinetic 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 three years.
Building on Ng’s practice of kinetic and often interactive design pieces, the modular installation 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.
After touring to Shanghai, Taipei, and most recently Art Basel in Hong Kong (29 – 31 March 2019), the latest iteration of Nexus sees the installation re-programmed for display at UBS' office in Broadgate, London with enhanced AQI data from additional locations worldwide including new cities across Europe.
The data analyzed by the UBS Evidence Lab shows that London experienced an average AQI of 76 over the period from November 2016 to May 2019, indicating 'moderate' air pollution levels in the city; meaning that the air quality may be a health concern for individuals sensitive to air pollution. Whilst London did not rank amongst the worst cities for air pollution globally in Europe, London's AQI over the period registered higher than many cities with twice the average of Berlin.
Nexus launched on 2 September 2019 at the UBS ESG and Sustainability Symposium with select tours of the installation by the designer available to public on 17 September. Pre-registration is essential via email@example.com and https://www.ubs.com/global/en/about_ubs/art/2019/global-air-quality.html. Elaine Yan Ling Ng will also participate in a related public talk titled: Digital Resonance as part of the London Design Festival's Global Design Forum. The talk will be held on 18 September at London's V&A Museum and will explore how digital design innovation is shaping the way we design, live, connect and work. For tickets visit: http://globaldesignforum.com/event/digital-resonance-0
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, Art Basel and Design Miami/ Basel 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" , the Design of Asia Gold Award and Design Anthology ‘Emerging Designer’ Award www.thefabricklab.com
About UBS and Contemporary Art
UBS has a long history of supporting contemporary art and artists. 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, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, the Deichtorhallen in Germany, the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 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. The UBS Arts Forum convenes and connects exceptional people in the art world, providing thought leadership at the cutting edge of contemporary art.
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).
About UBS Evidence Lab
UBS Evidence Lab is a sell-side team of experts, independent of UBS Research, that work across 45 specialized areas 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.
About London Design Festival
Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world. London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.
About Global Design Forum
Global Design Forum is London Design Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. Taking place throughout the Festival at the V&A, the Forum features a unique mix of talks, debates, tours and workshops that together reflects the most innovative thinking in the world of design today. From 14 – 22 September speakers from all corners of the global design community will share new perspectives on designing for a shifting future. From biodesign and digital futures, to the power of AI and our environment, Global Design Forum informs and inspires audiences annually.