GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Get Attractions Management digital magazine FREE
Sign up here ▸
Jobs   News   Features   Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise    Subscribe  
Science centres
Axel Hüttinger

As Luanda’s first science centre gets ready to open in Angola’s capital, the MD of Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions tells Magali Robathan why he’s on a mission to make science more accessible


In 1921, Emanuel Hüttinger founded engineering consultancy firm Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions in Furth, near Nuremberg, Germany. The firm evolved over the coming decades from a focus on the design and fabrication of technical models to the design and fit out of exhibitions and information centres. Today it is a ‘one-stop shop for exhibition planning, design and fabrication,’ working across museums, science centres, themed attractions, visitor centres, product presentations and art projects.

Clients include the Aberdeen Science Center, UK; the National Museum of Qatar; the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington, US; and CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, Spain.

Here Axel Hüttinger shares details of some unique projects due for completion and tells us why he’s not interested in presenting science topics as a ‘finished project’.

You’re working on the creation of a new national science centre in Angola. What can you tell us about the project?
The Luanda Science Center in Luanda, Angola is one of the biggest projects we’re working on right now. Our client is Mitrelli/Athena Swiss AG and it is due to open next year.

We’re the general contractor to design and build the exhibition for the new centre. We started fabricating a year ago, and installation started this spring.

The idea of the museum is to stimulate interest in science and technology, particularly among young people. It will include exhibitions on maths, computer science, natural science and technology, the human body and Angola. It will also feature a children’s playground, a cinema, planetarium, laboratories and temporary exhibitions.

We’re trying to tailor the content to the region as much as possible – the building housing the museum itself used to be a soap factory, so one of the installations allows visitors to make their own soap, and that installation will be connected to a maker space open fabrication lab.

One of the really interesting things about this project, is that the operator has put an outreach programme in right from the very beginning. In Angola, everything is concentrated in the capital – in rural areas, there’s very little in terms of infrastructure and education. The Luanda Science Center will act as a hub of science communication, using interactive science kits to run science programmes in rural communities across Angola. It’s going to be brilliant – you’ll load these kits onto trucks and lorries and go out into the communities.

You’re helping the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, US, transform its East Wing. What is happening there?
The National Air and Space Museum reopened its West Wing in October 2022 following a redesign, and we worked with them on the exhibits. We’re over the moon to be working with them again; this time, on another project to design and build interactive exhibits for the East Wing of the museum together with US fabrication firm Design and Production Incorporated and Toronto based design firm Reich + Petch.

The East Wing includes a huge gallery called How Things Fly, which we’re designing exhibits for. One of the exhibits will see visitors put on airfoils – like wings – and play about in a walk-in wind tunnel, to allow them to experience the forces of flight with their own bodies.

This illustrates our whole approach to learning – it’s not about just pushing a button, or looking at a little model of an aeroplane in a wind tunnel, it’s being in that wind tunnel yourself and feeling the forces with your own body. It’s the opposite of reading about a process, or watching it – it’s actually being part of that process. It’s a far more powerful way of connecting to visitors and helping them to understand a subject.

What else are you working on?
We won the design and build contract for a new children’s gallery for CosmoCaixa science museum in Barcelona, which I’m very excited about. We’re helping to create a new indoor/outdoor gallery, which should open by the beginning of next year. It will be an interactive science exhibition for children, featuring a wide range of exhibits, including ones exploring fluid mechanics and physics.

The beauty of the space is that it will be half indoors and half outdoors, which is a great idea – many parents don’t want to go into museums in the summer with their children, because who wants to be inside when you could be outside?

It will feature an outdoor play area and a range of exhibits.

You designed the recently opened Climate Change and Us gallery and exhibition for the Goulandris Natural History Museum in Athens. What’s the aim of this exhibition?
The aim was to present climate change not as an inevitable disaster, but as a feasible human challenge.

The great strength of Climate Change and Us is its regional focus – local expertise was used to create an exhibition tailored to the target group – schoolchildren from across the region. All exhibits are linked to the curriculum.

Greece is one of the few countries in Europe that’s managed to cover its electrical energy consumption almost entirely with renewable energy sources. We worked to make this clear via the central exhibit, Renewable Energy City, where visitors can interactively generate electrical energy at individual ‘power stations’ to keep the power grid stable.

The treatment of waste is another topic explored in the exhibition. The idea of a circular economy is communicated in a playful way with the Sort It! exhibit. The aim is to raise awareness that waste is made up of valuable raw materials.

You also recently completed the Electricity and Magnetism Gallery at the Hong Kong Science Museum. What makes this gallery exciting?
The beauty of the topic of energy is that it’s relevant to everyone. With this in mind, the Electricity and Magnetism gallery shows what’s behind the power socket, the principles of electric circuits and the effect of magnetism in a simple and vivid way. We designed and manufactured a ferro-fluid magnetoscope, a diamagnetic levitation exhibit and a 10m magnetic levitation train for this new gallery.

How would you sum up the philosophy of your company? What unites all of your work?
There are two types of science exhibition, which I describe as ‘about science’ and ‘of science’. ‘About science’ exhibitions present a scientific topic as a finished product – visitors can learn about the topic, press buttons and read panels. In this type of exhibition, visitors tend to be faced with simulations or diagrams with large amounts of explanatory text.

‘Of science’ exhibits encourage visitors to explore topics and create their own experiences and ideas. At Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions, we try to focus on the exhibitions we create as providers of experience, and we direct our efforts toward making those experiences as rich, meaningful, and memorable as possible. These types of exhibits are designed to act as the start of inquiry and exploration – to pique visitors’ curiosity and lead to further questions.

Swinging pendulums, for example, develop knowledge of simple harmonic motion. Using tools develops knowledge of simple machines. Playing with solar powered model cars develops knowledge of electrical circuits.

You also work with artists to realise their visions. What are you working on in this part of the business right now?
We have just been awarded a new contract to create a huge sculpture with the Austrian artist André Heller in Prague in the Czech Republic. We’re at the very beginning of the process, so I can’t say too much, but it will be an interactive piece exploring emotions.

We have worked with Heller before, when we helped to create the world’s largest walk-in kaleidoscope as part of the multimedia show Zeiträume that Heller curated in Taggenbrun Castle in Carinthia, Austria.

We have also worked with US artist Anthony Howe on the creation of Azlon II, a large stainless steel sculpture that displays a unique spectacle of reflections and floating patterns as it moves in the wind.

Kits are being developed to run science programmes across Angola Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
The Luanda Science Center will act as a hub for science communication in Angola Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Visitors learn best when they can experiment and create their own experiences Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Luanda Science Center will explore scientific phenomena via a range of exhibits Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Luanda Science Center will explore scientific phenomena via a range of exhibits Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Visitors are invited to make their own soap Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
COMPANY PROFILES
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
Taylor Made Designs

Taylor Made Designs (TMD) has been supplying the Attractions, Holiday Park, Zoos and Theme Park mark [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08-08 May 2024

Hospitality Design Conference

Hotel Melià , Milano , Italy
10-12 May 2024

Asia Pool & Spa Expo

China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2024 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2023 issue 4


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2023 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2023 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024
Get Attractions Management digital magazine FREE
Sign up here ▸
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Science centres
Axel Hüttinger

As Luanda’s first science centre gets ready to open in Angola’s capital, the MD of Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions tells Magali Robathan why he’s on a mission to make science more accessible


In 1921, Emanuel Hüttinger founded engineering consultancy firm Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions in Furth, near Nuremberg, Germany. The firm evolved over the coming decades from a focus on the design and fabrication of technical models to the design and fit out of exhibitions and information centres. Today it is a ‘one-stop shop for exhibition planning, design and fabrication,’ working across museums, science centres, themed attractions, visitor centres, product presentations and art projects.

Clients include the Aberdeen Science Center, UK; the National Museum of Qatar; the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington, US; and CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, Spain.

Here Axel Hüttinger shares details of some unique projects due for completion and tells us why he’s not interested in presenting science topics as a ‘finished project’.

You’re working on the creation of a new national science centre in Angola. What can you tell us about the project?
The Luanda Science Center in Luanda, Angola is one of the biggest projects we’re working on right now. Our client is Mitrelli/Athena Swiss AG and it is due to open next year.

We’re the general contractor to design and build the exhibition for the new centre. We started fabricating a year ago, and installation started this spring.

The idea of the museum is to stimulate interest in science and technology, particularly among young people. It will include exhibitions on maths, computer science, natural science and technology, the human body and Angola. It will also feature a children’s playground, a cinema, planetarium, laboratories and temporary exhibitions.

We’re trying to tailor the content to the region as much as possible – the building housing the museum itself used to be a soap factory, so one of the installations allows visitors to make their own soap, and that installation will be connected to a maker space open fabrication lab.

One of the really interesting things about this project, is that the operator has put an outreach programme in right from the very beginning. In Angola, everything is concentrated in the capital – in rural areas, there’s very little in terms of infrastructure and education. The Luanda Science Center will act as a hub of science communication, using interactive science kits to run science programmes in rural communities across Angola. It’s going to be brilliant – you’ll load these kits onto trucks and lorries and go out into the communities.

You’re helping the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, US, transform its East Wing. What is happening there?
The National Air and Space Museum reopened its West Wing in October 2022 following a redesign, and we worked with them on the exhibits. We’re over the moon to be working with them again; this time, on another project to design and build interactive exhibits for the East Wing of the museum together with US fabrication firm Design and Production Incorporated and Toronto based design firm Reich + Petch.

The East Wing includes a huge gallery called How Things Fly, which we’re designing exhibits for. One of the exhibits will see visitors put on airfoils – like wings – and play about in a walk-in wind tunnel, to allow them to experience the forces of flight with their own bodies.

This illustrates our whole approach to learning – it’s not about just pushing a button, or looking at a little model of an aeroplane in a wind tunnel, it’s being in that wind tunnel yourself and feeling the forces with your own body. It’s the opposite of reading about a process, or watching it – it’s actually being part of that process. It’s a far more powerful way of connecting to visitors and helping them to understand a subject.

What else are you working on?
We won the design and build contract for a new children’s gallery for CosmoCaixa science museum in Barcelona, which I’m very excited about. We’re helping to create a new indoor/outdoor gallery, which should open by the beginning of next year. It will be an interactive science exhibition for children, featuring a wide range of exhibits, including ones exploring fluid mechanics and physics.

The beauty of the space is that it will be half indoors and half outdoors, which is a great idea – many parents don’t want to go into museums in the summer with their children, because who wants to be inside when you could be outside?

It will feature an outdoor play area and a range of exhibits.

You designed the recently opened Climate Change and Us gallery and exhibition for the Goulandris Natural History Museum in Athens. What’s the aim of this exhibition?
The aim was to present climate change not as an inevitable disaster, but as a feasible human challenge.

The great strength of Climate Change and Us is its regional focus – local expertise was used to create an exhibition tailored to the target group – schoolchildren from across the region. All exhibits are linked to the curriculum.

Greece is one of the few countries in Europe that’s managed to cover its electrical energy consumption almost entirely with renewable energy sources. We worked to make this clear via the central exhibit, Renewable Energy City, where visitors can interactively generate electrical energy at individual ‘power stations’ to keep the power grid stable.

The treatment of waste is another topic explored in the exhibition. The idea of a circular economy is communicated in a playful way with the Sort It! exhibit. The aim is to raise awareness that waste is made up of valuable raw materials.

You also recently completed the Electricity and Magnetism Gallery at the Hong Kong Science Museum. What makes this gallery exciting?
The beauty of the topic of energy is that it’s relevant to everyone. With this in mind, the Electricity and Magnetism gallery shows what’s behind the power socket, the principles of electric circuits and the effect of magnetism in a simple and vivid way. We designed and manufactured a ferro-fluid magnetoscope, a diamagnetic levitation exhibit and a 10m magnetic levitation train for this new gallery.

How would you sum up the philosophy of your company? What unites all of your work?
There are two types of science exhibition, which I describe as ‘about science’ and ‘of science’. ‘About science’ exhibitions present a scientific topic as a finished product – visitors can learn about the topic, press buttons and read panels. In this type of exhibition, visitors tend to be faced with simulations or diagrams with large amounts of explanatory text.

‘Of science’ exhibits encourage visitors to explore topics and create their own experiences and ideas. At Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions, we try to focus on the exhibitions we create as providers of experience, and we direct our efforts toward making those experiences as rich, meaningful, and memorable as possible. These types of exhibits are designed to act as the start of inquiry and exploration – to pique visitors’ curiosity and lead to further questions.

Swinging pendulums, for example, develop knowledge of simple harmonic motion. Using tools develops knowledge of simple machines. Playing with solar powered model cars develops knowledge of electrical circuits.

You also work with artists to realise their visions. What are you working on in this part of the business right now?
We have just been awarded a new contract to create a huge sculpture with the Austrian artist André Heller in Prague in the Czech Republic. We’re at the very beginning of the process, so I can’t say too much, but it will be an interactive piece exploring emotions.

We have worked with Heller before, when we helped to create the world’s largest walk-in kaleidoscope as part of the multimedia show Zeiträume that Heller curated in Taggenbrun Castle in Carinthia, Austria.

We have also worked with US artist Anthony Howe on the creation of Azlon II, a large stainless steel sculpture that displays a unique spectacle of reflections and floating patterns as it moves in the wind.

Kits are being developed to run science programmes across Angola Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
The Luanda Science Center will act as a hub for science communication in Angola Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Visitors learn best when they can experiment and create their own experiences Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Luanda Science Center will explore scientific phenomena via a range of exhibits Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Luanda Science Center will explore scientific phenomena via a range of exhibits Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
Visitors are invited to make their own soap Credit: Photo: Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions
LATEST NEWS
The Everyday Heritage initiative celebrates and preserves working class histories
Off the back of the success of the first round of Everyday Heritage Grants in 2022, Historic England is funding 56 creative projects that honour the heritage of working-class England.
Universal announces long-awaited details of its Epic Universe, set to open in 2025
Universal has revealed it will be adding new Harry Potter attractions, alongside Super Nintendo and How to Train Your Dragon worlds to its Florida resort.
Heartbreak for Swedish theme park, Liseberg, as fire breaks out
A fire has destroyed part of the new water world, Oceana, at Liseberg in Sweden, and a construction worker has been reported missing.
Museum director apologises after comparing the city of Florence to a sex worker
Museum director Cecilie Hollberg has come under fire for comparing the city to a sex worker due to uncontrolled mass tourism.
Populous reveals plans for major e-sports arena in Saudi Arabia
Populous have unveiled their plans for a state-of-the-art e-sports arena, designed to stand as a central landmark in Qiddaya City’s gaming and e-sports district, Saudi Arabia.
Raby Castle reveals ambitious plans to become a major visitor destination
Raby Castle, known as one of the finest medieval fortifications in England, is nearing the end of an ambitious two-year renovation project.
Wake The Tiger launches new 1,000sq m expansion
Wake the Tiger, the Bristol-based immersive art experience, is set to open its 1,000sq m expansion on Friday 2 February.
Merlin teams up with Hasbro and Lego to create Peppa Pig experiences
Merlin Entertainments, the LEGO Group and Hasbro have teamed up to create Peppa Pig experiences.
Tate Modern and Frame collaborate on a mind/body experience
London boutique operator, Frame, has teamed up with the Tate Modern to offer two yin and sound yoga classes, following by a tour of the art gallery.
Elvis Presley Live is rolling out globally
Immersive entertainment specialists, Layered Reality, is creating a tribute to Elvis Presley featuring a concert experience with a life-sized digital Elvis.
Carmel Lewis takes top spot at BRC
Carmel Lewis has been appointed president at global experiential planning and design firm, BRC Imagination Arts, heralding a new era for the company.
Perth Museum to launch at Easter with rare Jacobite objects
Opening over Easter weekend in March 2024 after a £26.5m redevelopment project, Perth Museum will tell the story of Perth – Scotland’s first capital.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
Taylor Made Designs

Taylor Made Designs (TMD) has been supplying the Attractions, Holiday Park, Zoos and Theme Park mark [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08-08 May 2024

Hospitality Design Conference

Hotel Melià , Milano , Italy
10-12 May 2024

Asia Pool & Spa Expo

China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS