Fabien Girardin

Biography Publications

Left to right by rows: Lift 2008 T-Shirt designed by Bread and Butter, Muji travel hairdryer, Vita-Merfen disinfectant ointment, iPhone 5 black, Pair of sunglasses, 1998 Swatch. Beat Aluminum, iPod Nano Second, Moleskine ruled black notebook, Macbook Air, AKG K490 noise cancelling headphones, Jeans, Nike Free 3.0 V1, Various pens and pencils.


Swiss born based in Barcelona.

Fabien Girardin (PhD) is a researcher, engineer and creator who co-founded the Near Future Laboratory, a micro-multinational Design Fiction agency. He leads the exploration of the futures of data products and plays an active role in shaping Design Fiction as a new practice to envision, explain and question possible futures with the production of tangible forms.

Throughout his career, Fabien has pioneered works at the intersection of user experience and data science. Most notably, he developed Digital Footprinting techniques that analyze network data to improve the observations of human mobility[1], urban attractiveness[2] and hyper-congestion[3]. Also he co-created Quadrigram, a visual programming environment that democratizes data manipulation and visualization as part of a practice he coined as Sketching with Data [4].

Fabien holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Digital Communications [5] from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain. Along his academic journey, he was also affiliated with the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to his graduate studies, he joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technologies in Lausanne (EPFL) to manage and study collaborative applications. Subsequently, Fabien co-founded Simpliquity, an EPFL spin-off that produced for the Boeing Company an air-travel detection systems used in context-aware experience sampling surveys[6]. Earlier in 1997, he developed a web directory popular in Switzerland that he later sold [7] to finance his studies at Biel School of Engineering and work in Silicon Valley.

In addition to occasionally lecture at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) and the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya (IAAC), Fabien speaks in conferences such as O'Reilly Strata, Picnic, Lift, Barcelona Design Week, and Smart City World Congress.

Finally, his work has featured in CCCB, the National Football Museum in Manchester[8], the Design Museum of Barcelona and Laboral.[9]

Selected Publications

[1] Girardin, F., Calabrese, F., Dal Fiore, F., Ratti, C., and Blat, J. (2008). Digital footprinting: Uncovering tourists with user-generated content. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 7(4):36-43.

[2] Girardin, F., Vaccari, A., Gerber, A., Biderman, A., and Ratti, C. (2009). Quantifying urban attractiveness from the distribution and density of digital footprints. International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research, 4:175-200.

[3] Girardin, F. (2013). Insights from network data analysis that yield field observations. Ethnography matters.

[4] Girardin, F. (2015). Sketching with Data, in New Challenges for Data Design. pp 189-205 Bihanic, David (Ed.), Springer

[5] Girardin, F. (2009). Aspects of implicit and explicit human interactions with ubiquitous geographic information. PhD thesis, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

[6] Girardin, F., Nova, N., and Dillenbourg, P. (2009). Detecting air travel to survey passengers on a worldwide scale. Journal of Location-Based Services, 3(3):210-226.

Selected media coverage

Muchos números para el fútbol, El Periodico, July 27, 2015.

Un catálogo de Ikea de ciencia ficción muestra el futuro de la tecnología, El Confidencial, July 2, 2015.

Interview with Fabien Girardin. Co-founder of Near Future Laboratory, Smart City Business Institute , December, 2014.

El 'efecto Mona Lisa' guia cada paso de los turistas en el Louvre, El Periodico, February 6, 2012.

La nouvelle science des données, InternetActu, July 12, 2010.

Flickr Photos Yield Tourist Trails, Technology Review, June 15, 2010.

Quelle ville voulons-nous offrir ? Quelle ville espérons-nous recevoir ?, Le Monde, March 6, 2009.

Internet revela los movimientos de los turistas en las ciudades, El Periodico, March 31, 2008.

[7] Avec Yoodle.ch, deux entrepreneurs rêvent d'un Yahoo à la sauce edelweiss, Le Temps, March 11, 2000.

Exhibited work

[8] Winning Formula at National Football Museum in Manchester, CCCB and Fundacion Telefonica (2014)

[9] World's Eyes at Design Museum of Barcelona and LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (2009)

Contact: fgirardin at gmail dot com
Follow: @fabiengiardin
Connect: linkedin.com/fabiengirardin

I occasionaly write in Near Future Laboratory's blog and as well as in Medium. From March 2003 to April 2009 I published in a research blog to openly share my investigations that led to 1400 posts generating hundreds of thoughtful feedback.

Fabien Girardin. 2015 All Rights Reserved