We were honoured to be invited to provide an interactive data-exhibition for the recently opened, Rem Koolhaas-designed Qatar National Library.

Simultaneously a public, academic and research library, QNL is a beautiful, light-drenched arena dedicated to knowledge and information from all cultures and all ages.

Qatar National Library
Qatar National Library

We created ten interactive data-visualizations to run on a series of 3-metre touchscreen totems, two-sided, one face in English, the other Arabic.

The exhibition is a visual, interactive swim through many rich topics: the history of civilisation, Middle-Eastern science, social media & reading habits, plus our fabled Snake Oil Supplements graphics and updates of Timeline of the Far Future and the Billion Dollar O Gram.


One big learning: data-visualizations look great in Arabic! The calligraphic type adds elegance and curvature to the starker data shapes.

We found that huge touchscreens introduce all kinds of design and user-experience issues for interactive visualizations. Shaping bi-lingual data content to engage library audiences of all ages – and heights – was also challenging. We’ll reveal our process in a later post.

You’ll be seeing more exhibitions and installations from us in the future.

Until then, if you’re ever in Doha, don’t miss the incredible building, the million or so books, and the rather beautiful colonnade of data displays.


CREDITS
Design & creative direction David McCandless
Senior developer & technical direction Tom Evans
Developers Omid Kashan, Paul Barton, Emma Lewis, Fabio Bergamaschi
Researcher Stephanie Smith.
Writer Karl Webster
Project Management & Logistics Iram Quarashi, Yahya Wahbeh, Ruth Jobey
Totem technology Brandfirst
Thanks to Dr. Sohair F. Wastawy, Dr. Stuart Hamilton, Dr Abed N. Al-Sameai, and the entire QNL team for making this exhibition possible.
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David McCandless
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net

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