Information Decoration

Moving data from the screen to the world

Much of the data in our lives comes from square, electronic screens. We get our news from the television, our books from e-readers, transportation schedules from LED screens, and everything else from computers and mobile phones. Nature encodes information in some elegant ways: the fish that changes color when it’s ready to mate, the banana that turns yellow when it’s ripe. ‘Information decoration’ takes its inspiration from old nature to present data in an unobtrusive manner, helping to restore depth of meaning to the built environment.

Information Decoration: Our Environment as an Information Carrier

ESSAY BY Van Mensvoort
October 17th 2007

Picture this: it's 40,000 years ago, and you are an early Homo sapiens. You are standing on the savanna. Look around you. What do you see?

No billboards, no traffic signs, no logos, no text. You might see grassland, a stand of trees, a bank of clouds in the distance. You are in a kind of vast, unspoilt nature reserve. Are you feeling wonderfully relaxed yet? Don't be mistaken.

Unlike the woodland parks where you sometimes go walking of a Sunday, this is not a recreational environment. This is where you live. You must survive here, and the environment is full of information that helps you to do so.…

Augmented (Hyper)Reality

Keiichi Matsuda presents a dystopian vision of a world where augmented reality has created a nightmare of information overload.

Energy Consumption Shown on Power Plant

Van Mensvoort
February 17th 2009

Information decoration on a city scale. Every night from the 22 to the 29 of February 2008, the vapor emissions of he Salmisaari power plant in Helsinki will be illuminated to show the current levels of electricity consumption by local residents.…

Squamata headset dances with the Music

Van Mensvoort
September 18th 2010

Inspired by body language of animals (in particular squamates and porcupines), designer Jop Japenga created a headphone with an adaptive skin that responds to the music played on them – resembling a bird performing a mating dance.…

Excitement Clothing

Van Mensvoort
September 28th 2006

The body suit pictured above has LEDs that illuminate according to the wearer's state of excitement. Skin signals are measured and change light emission through biometric sensing technology.…