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FORM AND FFUNCTION who FFunction what Data visualization, data-rich design, information design, user interface, infographics, UX, data portals, and interactive FORM where 400 Atlantic #205, Montreal (QC) H2V 1A5, Canada web DataisbeautifulinthehandsofFFunction.Adatavizspecialiststudioinaninformation-driven world, FFunctionnotonlymakessenseoftheinformationspace,butdefinesitsparameters to communicate oftencomplexideastoanaudiencehungryfornewexperiences,knowledge and insights AND FFUNC 34___________________________________________________profile

FORM AND FFUNCTION It was2005,andFFunction’sfounder, SébastienPierre,wasfeeling disillusionedwithFrance.Hehada Mastersinsoftwareengineeringand abachelordegreeindesignandwanted tofindawaytobringthetwofields together in his career. “WhereIcomefrom,cross-disciplinary innovation is not that common,” explains Sébastien.“Francehasacultureof excellence,butthinkingoutofthebox andstartingsomethingnewisunusual, almost to the point of being frowned upon.There,yougototherightschool, getajob,payyourdues,moveupthe ladder,stayinyourownlane.So,Icame to Canada.” After working in Montreal startups for a couple of years, he decided to start his own company. But he needed a graphic designer to work with, so he went to the graduate show of UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) to see if there were any contenders. “I saw one display that was very strong; the designer had an innate understanding of typography and form,” Sébastien continued. “Other people seemed to agree — there were no business cards left so I had to Google her name: Audrée Lapierre.” Audrée also remembers this time vividly: “Funnily enough, when I graduated I had every intention of being a print designer. I was interested in aesthetics and Key Clients UNESCO Institute for Statistics Google Deloitte University Press Heifer International Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) decorativearts,abstractimages,punchy coloursandfinetypography.Ididn’tknow whereIwantedtowork,butIknewIdidn’t want to work in advertising. I wanted to design to inform people, not to sell things. OnedayIgotanemailfromaFrenchman whosaidhe’dseenmyworkandwanted to talk. It was Sébastien.” After several discussions, Sébastien and Audrée decided to set up shop, and rented acoupleofdesksinthecornerofanother company’s office in downtown Montreal. Audréeexplains:“Thiswasbeforethe InfographicBoomof2010andatthat stagemostpeopledidn’tevenknowwhat datavisualisationwas.Atthattime,themix of visual communication, data journalism, information, UI and design were a very new way to get information across, and wespentalotoftimedoingself-generated infographics and explaining to prospective clientswhytheywouldevenwantto publishtheirdatainthefirstplace.” Ashorttimelater,thestudiomovedto an industrial-zone/hipster-enclave called Mile-Ex, which has been FFunction’s home eversince.Thestudioitselfisina century-old brick building that has been convertedintolargeopenplanloftspaces. Asadatavisualisationstudio,Sébastien andAudréelookedforanamefortheir new business that would encapsulate the kind of work they wanted to do. Sébastien explains how they named their business: “Being in a bilingual environment like Montreal adds an extra layer of complexity tochoosinganame.Istartedwiththe name ‘Donnéelicieuse’ which translated to ‘Datalicious’ in English. But The name FFunction comes from the combination of form and function, which to me is what data visualisation is all about TION was taken by another company working inaparallelindustry,andanyway,having different names in French and English was not ideal. “Donnéelicieuseisstillourlegalname butwestartedtradingasFFunction shortly thereafter. The name FFunction comes from the combination of form and function, which to me is what data visualisation is all about. It was also a wink to, which at that time was a strictly invite-only magnet for graphic designersallovertheworld.Thedomain name wasn’t available, profile___________________________________________________35

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