Over a lunch in mid-April, Laura Subi and Arnau Coll were talking about how they were both tired of looking for unattainable jobs that anyway in the end weren’t even in line with their practice. A couple of jokes about hypothetical studio names later and they decided to launch Digo.
Digo – meaning “I say” in Spanish – is a London-based design and research studio that experiments in between the disciplines across digital, interactive films, objects and experiences. Its two founders first met during university, where they both studied for a BA in visual and digital design at Bau Design College of Barcelona. Later in 2017, Laura moved to London for an MA in computational arts at Goldsmiths and Arnau made the same move a year later. “This first year together made us realise how weather can make you more productive and focused,” says Laura. “This is where our projects and ideas started to come together.”
Now, Arnau is studying for a masters in artists’ film and Digo, as a whole, is taking on as many freelance gigs as possible. Whether it’s a music video, 3D campaign for Paloma Wool, a video diary recorded with mobile phones, or two AI robots having a slightly painful discussion about politics, Digo’s work is outlandishly experimental. A recent endeavour sees the design duo create a 360º music video for an artist named Alba, titled Canço mig mig. “The idea was to bring autonomy to the viewer,” says Arnau, explaining the concept for the video. “There are plenty of moments in our everyday life when we are consuming videos. In all these moments you can perform different body positions, so we wanted to create an audiovisual piece that every time you watch it, the experience can be different.”
The video transports you into a land that’s filled with cartoonish objects, pastel-hued scenery and childlike animations. In terms of the brief, the only imperative was to include the 3D models of cars “that were part of the LP cover design”, as well as the music found on the 3D design software, SketchUp. “So from these digital objects, we started to imagine a whole world for them,” explains Laura. “Because the cars were a must, we decided to incorporate the aesthetics found in old video games, as well as referencing the idea of playing around with the environment.”
Compiled in Cinema4D to create the environment, the video was then tweaked in After Effects for the post-production and graphics. The studio’s process involves a technique that sees Laura and Arnau completely immerse themselves into a new research topic or technique in order to decipher and face the unknown. This project steered them towards 3D – “the only difference is rendering your scene with a spherical camera that gives you the full frame in flat, and then you just need to add a plugin that lets you play it in 360º,” says Arnau. The outcome is completely enthralling; soft cloud-like textures give a hazy feel to the background, while perfectly spherical shapes and shiny objects spin and turn in between the floating cars. Something as if it’s been pulled from Mario Kart or Spyro, mixed with a futuristic vision of where media might be heading in the future.
When asked whether the duo have plans to further expand their 360º creations and continue working in the field, the response is positive. “The techniques change in every project, but we would love to work more on 360º videos,” explains Laura. “We are into understanding how technology wraps around reality and finding out the limits of creativity within the internet.” Currently, Digo is creating its own 3D avatars as a personal project, developing a new music video, exhibiting a video piece at the Loom festival in Barcelona and will be taking part in the Wrong Biennale with GoingAway.tv in collaboration with Arebyte Gallery in London. Keep your eyes peeled.
About the Author
Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.