ICFO Quantum tour

The Institute of Photonic Sciences / Web design – Virtual tour


This science communication project aims to engage people in quantum physics through an illustrated online tour of the ICFO building to discover fascinating aspects of the quantum world and learn about quantum concepts through stories told by ICFO researchers.
ICFO is one of the most important research centers regarding quantum physics, and they wanted to show to the general audience what they do through a virtual tour. Quantum physics is a fundamental theory in physics that studies the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level, so we thought that we needed to create a space to foster imagination, a space where anything is possible, but also a space of science and truth.
The solution was an illustration based tour with illustrations based on architecture sketches and watercolor drawings where reality was embedded through illustration, video, animations and photography to disseminate complex quantum concepts to the public.
One of the biggest challenges for this science communication project was to disseminate the excellent research work that is being carried out by ICFO researchers while also disseminating concepts of quantum physics to provide to the public the tools they need to understand the value of research in quantum physics.
We envisioned an online experience where the user can “switch” from the macroscopic world that we understand, to the quantum world where counter-intuitive phenomena start to happen.

In the macroscopic world, the user can visit all ICFO spaces, and meet different ICFONIANS (ICFO researchers). They can see a real laboratory, and understand the different research lines carried out at ICFO. On the other hand, in the quantum world, the user can find some of the most famous and groundbreaking quantum physics experiments that gave place to theories such as: entanglement, superposition…
This multimedia platform was also supported by the AXA Research Fund.

Go to website.


“Not only does God play dice but…
he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.”

Stephen Hawking

The illustrations

Each illustration represents a space of the ICFO building and also highlights certain aspects of the work they do. The innovative use of illustration in a virtual tour makes this project one of a kind. Illustration allows us to transmit complex concepts in a clear, attractive and engaging manner.

Illustrator: Sebastià Martí

Videos, Motion graphics, Animations

Videos are an essential part of this project. In science communication, videos have proved to be one of the most successful media. We have used different techniques such as motion graphics and illustration to support the explanation of complex scientific concepts while still keeping the researchers as the main characters.

The quantum world is represented by means of 2D animations that will take us on a journey through four basic quantum concepts and experiments.

360º Photography

The 360º photo of a real ICFO laboratory allows the visitor to see how quantum physics research looks like. The photo includes explanatory text to make sure visitors can understand what they are seeing and enjoy the visit.