Studio Babelsberg’s Art Department creates the future in the Futurium

Image © Art Department Studio Babelsberg GmbH

Berlin’s Futurium, the new imposing museum made entirely of glass next to the Main Station, opens up new perspectives on conceivable futures. Babelsberg’s Art Department has also created visions in the Futurium in the same way that it does for films.

The huge “Neo-Nature” sculpture in the museum, which aims to provide a new understanding of the natural world, was built by the Babelsbergers – in a combination of media technology meeting craftsmanship. More than 6,000 components for the sculpture were redesigned, calculated and statically tested with the aid of Augmented Reality (AR). During the production and assembly of the sculpture, the Art Department’s technicians used the HoloLens from Microsoft, so-called mixed reality glasses. One can see normally as well as recognise holograms when using these glasses. A pre-programmed application made it possible for every piece of the complex sculpture to be visible in 3D in advance and from every angle within the exhibition area. Assembly instructions were also included. The assembly would have been much harder without HoloLens, with incorrect assembly being more probable.

The construction of the multi-piece “Neo-Nature” sculpture made of wood was much less complicated: it seems to be growing organically out of the ground, goes off in all different directions and arches up to a height of eight metres in the exhibition hall. Moreover, the sculpture’s design follows a mathematical principle defining the Golden Ratio which is often found in the natural world.

The work of Studio Babelsberg’s Art Department for Berlin’s Art+Com Studios in the Futurium shows that innovative set construction needs more than the classic crafts of carpenters, locksmiths, sculptors, decorators and painters. Media technologies have now become an indispensable part of the work. This special construction would have taken much longer and not have become anywhere near so precise without media technologies.

“We are constantly expanding our digital expertise and digitising our workflow,” says Managing Director Michael Düwel, who has been responsible for the Art Department now for more than 20 years. “This ensures that we remain a leader in set construction for international film and TV projects. For us, every single step is digital. The client’s wishes are visualised on the computer, the statics calculated and the precise realisation determined and constantly refined until completion. Likewise, there are more and more interfaces between real-world implementation and the optical additions, the so-called Computer Generated Images (CGI). In addition, we use these skills for industrial clients on mock-up constructions such as for the first prototypes of Berlin’s new S-Bahn. “These different fields of application and experiences thus enable us to remain at the cutting edge.”

By Eva Werner

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