CERN’s new flagship centre for education and outreach consists of three exhibition spaces: Discover CERN, Our Universe, and Quantum World. Dutch experience design agency Tinker imagineers was responsible for Our Universe, settled in one of the two tubes within the impressive building designed by RPBW Architects (Renzo Piano Building Workshop).
In there, Tinker designed the exhibition Back to the Big Bang, which tells the history of our entire universe, and an art space Exploring the Unknown, featuring artists’ installations on the theme of the Big Unanswered Questions in physics. Tinker worked together with Dutch partners Bruns, YIPP, Shosho, and Mansveld to realise the exhibitions.
The scenography designed by Tinker and the selected materials echo the very principles and precision with which CERN builds its experiments, creating a powerful connection to their groundbreaking work. With CERN itself as the design reference, the exhibition is rich in interactive experiences to ignite your curiosity for the wonders of the universe.
Stan Boshouwers, owner of Tinker and project director of the Gateway explains: ‘It was incredible to work at the frontiers of human knowing. For instance, the Big Bang film, going back in time towards a billionth of a billionth of a second from the origin of everything, was a thrilling co production between CERN and Tinker. I really felt we were pioneering at that stage.’
Back to the Big Bang
The exhibition Back to the Big Bang embarks on a journey through time. Visitors start their exploration of the history of the universe in the present by witnessing real-time particle detection. A timeline that spans the entire length of the space shows the stages of our universes life, offering visitors a captivating journey through almost 14 billion years, enabling them to dive into the evolution of our universe and gain a profound insight of its origins.
It explains the present and stretches back to the Early Universe and the Big Bang. The timeline is designed to be tactile for blind and visually impaired individuals, providing them with a dynamic and immersive understanding of the fascinatingworld of particle physics.
A series of interactive exhibits, fashioned to resemble laboratory setups, adorn the central area of the space. Towards the back of the room visitors are treated to a captivating film that journeys to within a fraction of a second of the Big Bang, explaining the cutting edge science of CERN to offer profound insights into the mysteries of the cosmos.
Exploring the Unknown
The exhibition space Exploring the Unknown examines the uncharted realms where science and art converge. This remarkable exhibition delves into the open questions of science where mysteries abound and curiosity reigns. The centerpiece is a commissioned artwork by German artist Julius von Bismarck who has created a breathtaking installation inspired by the enigmatic concept of higher dimensions, embodied in a mesmerizing tesseract.
As part of this innovative project, Tinker was tasked with creating a short making-of documentary of this art installation. The agency enhanced the experience by integrating information consoles into the space, contributing to the fusion of art and science.
CERN Science Gateway
The Science Gateway is a place to discover particle physics like nowhere else. At this new centre, visitors from age five and up will be able to discover their inner scientist in hands-on education labs. They explore CERN and the universe through immersive multimedia exhibitions, take part in science shows and public events, and join guidedtours to see the places where the science is practiced. Source by Tinker imagineers.
Location: Meyrin, Switzerland
Exhibition design: Tinker imagineers
Set construction: Bruns
AV content Big Bang film: Shosho
AV hardware: Mansveld
Client: CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics)