High Potentials 2021: “Don’t be shy about sharing your work”

High Potentials, our support programme for young creatives from all over Europe is now open for applications until May 27th. Besides being a platform for young talents to present in front of top agencies and design studios looking for fresh and diverse creative minds, High Potentials is a unique opportunity to meet like-minded creatives and start collaborations.

Not sure about it? Check out the experience of Marina Colell and Sergi Sauras, two participants in our High Potentials programme in 2017.

Marina and Sergi didn’t know each other until they got on stage to present their work as part of the High Potentials Session at ADCE Festival 2017. Both enjoyed each other’s presentations and started a conversation with the idea of collaborating in the future. 

We have talked to them to know more about their experience, the collaboration that sparked from that meeting and their advice for young creatives. 

Marina runs her own design studio, Graphitons. Her self-initiated projects explore the implications of quantum physics, using art as a gateway into the quantum dimension. Quantum physics has given new life to ancient metaphysical and philosophical questions: Marina uses creativity to investigate the physical and mystical foundations of the universe, consciousness and existence.

Sergi also runs his own practice, Sauras + Garriga. Trained as an Architect, he works on projects in the realms of architecture, interiors and visual design in collaboration with designer Mery Garriga. He is interested in the poetic qualities of architecture and his work explores them in non-conventional scenarios, from bespoke residential projects to a fashion set design at the NYFW. Prior to establishing his own firm, Sergi worked in international architecture firms such as Aires Mateus Arquitectos, Bjarke Ingels Group and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Which was your biggest takeaway from the High Potentials session?

M – To be able to meet and connect with talented creatives that are just starting their careers in different parts of Europe. To me, every life experience that includes people from other countries is a big pull. I found it highly inspirational to be able to see different projects and ways of presenting from young people coming from other parts of Europe; I still follow most of the fellow High Potentials on social media.


How did you think of working together? How was the process and where did that lead you?

M – I had already produced an artistic project about quantum physics, and I wanted to take it to a whole new level: creating an interactive light and sound installation, exploring String Theory. The project involved various disciplines, such as creative coding, movement and architecture. I immediately thought of Sergi, so we met up and I ran the project by him: he really liked it from the beginning and came on board. The process of creation was smooth, and we had a lot of fun. We met up regularly to conceptualise and sketch, and we came up with something that was not only visually pleasing but had a lot of hidden concepts and maths behind that reflect the mathematical part of String Theory. The project is called “Dance of the Cosmos”.

Tell us more about “Dance of the Cosmos”, what is it about and how do you envision the project?

M – “Dance of the Cosmos” is an interpretation of String Theory, which is one of the hypotheses in the field of quantum physics that aims to explain how the macrocosmos and the microcosmos could combine and make sense together (which at the moment, they don’t). The theory postulates that what we know as elementary particles (photons, electrons, muons…) are actually the result of tiny strings in constant vibration. Just like the strings of an instrument creating musical notes when they are touched (aka vibrate), these minuscule strings would vibrate and produce particles. These particles make up all the matter and forces of the universe (that we know of so far).

S – Presenting my work to an international audience was a very rewarding experience. It also made me realize the importance of storytelling. There were many great projects and interesting people, but the stories with a captivating mise-en-scene were the ones that I remembered long after the event. I often think of this when preparing presentations for our current projects at the studio.

In Dance of the cosmos, the visitors enter a dark room with a round structure in the middle. Its walls are made of double white fabric, and there is blue laser light inside. Entering the installation, the visitor is met with seventeen beams of light that fall from the ceiling; each of these beams represents a string from the theory. There are seventeen elementary particles: in the structure, each beam is responsible for creating one of these kinds of particles. These beams are interactive, so when somebody moves or dances under them, each creates its own sound, a different musical note. So the metaphor is that when you move under the light, you touch the strings and create elementary particles: you are dancing the cosmos, creating particle sounds, generating ephemeral multiverses.

When and where was the piece presented for the first time?

M – The piece premiered on April 1, 2019 at BAU, a Design University in Barcelona. It was there for 5 days as part of the Extrabold Festival. The night of the premiere was very special, we introduced the piece and a performatic introduction by Elena Tarrats and Marc Vilajuana, who interacted with the piece before opening it to the general public.


Do you have further plans for it?

M – We would love for the piece to be shown again and there has been interest from contemporary art centers in Barcelona dealing with technology and science. I would also love for it to tour internationally. I’m currently living in England, and the plan is to establish a more international network — even though with Covid and lockdowns, offline life has been quite quiet.


How does the project relate to your work?

M – As a creator, I love to research, study and learn about unknown fields and theories, and then translating them into artistic projects. This way, the information can be enjoyed and loved by people who would, in the case of quantum physics, maybe get lost in complex equations and concepts. Quantum physics is fascinating, and approaching it from a language which is not mathematical, but artistic, allows for poetry, concept and interaction. In Dance of the cosmos, it means sinking into scientific theories via a completely different perspective, thus giving way to a wider audience.

S – As an architect, I often find myself working on projects that are rooted in the idea of permanence, designs that must last over the years and endure the passing of time. The beauty of an ephemeral installation is the challenge of designing against the imminent disappearance that is given by its temporality. In the end, it’s a piece of work that will only live in the memory of people, so the focus has to be on the emotions and to make them unforgettable. Working with Marina was a very inspiring experience in that sense, since both her project and herself marked a very conceptual and profound starting point to begin with.


As a veteran High Potential, what advice would you give to the next High Potentials or to
young creatives?

M – Don’t be afraid, just go for it! Most of us are driven by passion even though we might not be sure at all of what we are doing. And don’t be shy to talk and ask questions to people at an event like the High Potentials; you never know who could be your next creative match!

S – Make things that you want to see exist in the world and don’t be shy about sharing them, you never know who may be watching.

Marina Colell
Designer & creator | @graphitons

Sergi Sauras
Architect | @sergisauras
Sauras + Garriga
www.saurasgarriga.com | @saurasgarriga


“Dance of the Cosmos”
This installation was conceived, conceptualised, designed and directed by Graphitons.
The collaborators who made it possible are:

— Architecture: Sergi Sauras
— Creative code: Ínfim Collective
— Music: Bru Ferri
— Movement: Elena Tarrats & Marc Vilajuana
— Host: Bau University
— Photography and filmmaking: Montse Capdevila
— Text revision: Sonia Fernández-Vidal
— Management: Gisela Colell