ATELIER BRÜCKNER conceives and designs narrative architecture and spaces for brands, exhibitions, trade fairs and museums. From content and messages, we develop surprising ideas and create memorable concepts that set international standards.
Building scenographically means developing architectures that, whether temporary or permanent, are conceptually derived from the content – from the configuration of the shell and the design of the interiors to the actual choice of materials. The built reality becomes a direct reflection, the carrier as it were, of the content or functional conception on which it is based.
The shell and the content are not developed independently of each other but, together, mould stories, messages and ideas to form structural elements that determine the tectonics and texture of the built structure.
Architectures that thus express the content in their design themselves become signs that are manifested and readable.
Exhibition projects can be based on different intentions and contents. Such projects range from large classical collections of objects of an art or cultural-history museum to presentations of a product, whereby the intention is to establish the exhibition location – the trade fair, the brand centre, the expo – as a vehicle for credible brand communication.
In an exhibition designed with scenographic means, space, light, graphics and sound, as well as media and content correspond to form an intellectual and sensory “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art). A successful exhibition offers authentic and unmediated experiential spaces, telling fascinating stories in which arcane knowledge is made accessible to the visitor.
Scenographically designed exhibitions create proximity to the addressees, turn them into a confidant and witness, enable participation and make them part of the narrated story.
Scenography creates form from content, giving the latter meaning and purpose. It generates its staged spaces from ideas, objects and stories in order to finally convey their messages to an audience. Scenography re-contextualises, which makes tangible objects talk and succinctly endows them with relevance for the present.
Irrespective of whether a project involves a building or the presentation of a single object, a collection or brand, scenography is concerned with transformation, the explicit aim of which is to communicate information and ideas. Scenography generates and transforms space and all spatial elements.
Narrative spaces are the most poetic instruments of scenography. They make content into stories and transform them into impressive, sometimes monumental spatial gestures that exert a narrative effect on the observer. In doing so, they convey themes and messages that are immediately and intuitively apparent. Narrative spaces create places where questions are asked, avenues of thought are explored and stories are invented; they can neutralise the statics, materiality and physical limits of a space by completely making the space itself into a narrative event, i.e. the telling of a story.
Form follows content
“form follows content”, whereby design is no longer to be defined solely according to functional points of view but is to be derived from content, is a consistent further development of Sullivan’s “form follows function” and has become the guiding principle of the scenographic enterprise.
Every project starts with an analysis of content, stories and information. Workable notions, concealed “images” relevant to design and cross-connections in the content are investigated in detail. A common denominator, a golden thread, a “plot” – which forms the basis of any conception – is then defined.
The resulting dramaturgy is translated into space narratively and for the senses with the help of the instruments of design. Content and information become intensively told stories that are absorbed and internalised intuitively and reflexively – or sometimes merely playfully.
When intuition and intellect pursue a common goal and the methodical use of dramaturgical principles characterise the creative process, when the selection of means is coherent and the translation is consistent, then the conception is well on the way to becoming a surprising, memorable scenography.
The creative process is based on a creative structure that was developed by Uwe R. Brückner and sees itself as an autonomous scenographic methodology. In the Atelier, it is a strategy for the creative process and the work of design, while also serving as a set of instructions and navigation system. It makes it possible to analyse complex projects and their requirements in order to develop a plot, a storyboard and an 'orchestral score', to design a highly stimulating sequence of experiences and coherent narrative spaces, to make the design a reality and to document the result in a way that has utility for everyone involved.
In order to do full justice to the increasing complexity of architecture and exhibitions, the work in the Atelier is done consistently in interdisciplinary teams.
Wherever people get together around a table and are willing to think outside the box of their profession, are receptive to the views of others and nevertheless remain true to their own knowledge and understanding, it is possible to generate surprising strategies, novel forms of experience and highly effective staged settings.
Architects, graphic designers, scientists, stage directors, product designers and media designers all work together to deliver architectural and exhibition concepts with the aim of creating a “Gesamtkunstwerk” that is more than the sum of its parts and is able to entrance visitors by appealing to all of their senses.
The analysis and development of content and themes are the beginning of all considerations relating to conceptualisation and design. The intensive exchange of views with clients, scientists, marketing strategists and curators is central to this endeavour. The Atelier works with them shoulder to shoulder to work out messages and statements that will later determine the look of a piece of architecture or the dramaturgy of an exhibition.
The content interpreter embraces a principle coined by Uwe. R. Brückner: "Start thinking from the end". In doing this, he focuses on the recipients and their expectations, on their receptivity, their cognitive capacity and their individual ability to process information. By situating the experience of the visitor in a staged setting, he attempts to do justice to the different types of user behaviour or to individual ways of experiencing.
No other creative discipline possesses such a multi-facetted range of instruments for the design of space as scenography. Scenography instrumentalises the means of architecture, theatre, film and the visual arts in order to design distinctive and effective spatial dramatisations.
Space is the central medium in which, with which and for which the Atelier thinks and designs. Space – whether in the form of a scenographically designed exhibition or a piece of architecture – is itself used as an instrument and can orchestrate all other instruments in the integrated sense of a Gesamtkunstwerk. Four spatial parameters, on which all staged spaces are based, constitute the potential of a space: the physical, atmosphere, narration and dramaturgy.
Each of these spatial parameters refers to a specific quality of the space and, in consonance with the other parameters, makes it possible to access content, get to the bottom of things, ferret out the soul of a theme or get closer to a brand. The interplay of the spatial parameters in a dramaturgically ingenious and stimulating setting in exhibitions and architecture seduces the recipients into accepting the story and its message.
The most elementary, flexible and possibly oldest set of instruments used in exhibition and museum scenography is provided by graphics. Ever since an interest in staged spaces arose, graphics as an instrument has developed from being a two-dimensional medium to a three-dimensional one. Born on one plane, it is now conquering space.
As a space-generating and space-structuring medium, graphics is elementary. This not only applies to the spatial framework but also to the visualisation of content and stories and their translation into narrative spaces. Graphics can be used to present themes in a spatially abstract setting or, as a space-encompassing supportive element, can bring the space to life by enhancing the content and themes that are presented. Textual spaces, reading spaces, story-telling spaces and even decoding spaces can be created with the help of graphics. Text graphics can make a space talk and transform it into a walk-in narrative instrument that makes stories stick in visitors’ minds or elicits completely new ones.
Graphics play a leading role in the Atelier’s integrative approach to design. From the very beginning, communication designers are conceptually involved in the process of translating and communicating themes and messages in a way that is adequate to the content. And right up to the end, they participate significantly in development and implementation of the overall scenographic look.
In the Atelier, digital media are never used as ends in themselves but always in the service of the message. They enable individualised or participatory, as well as synaesthetic and creative access to objects, knowledge and complex interrelationships.
Here, a fundamental distinction can be made between "media stations" and "space-configuring media". What many digital-media concepts have in common is that they make the recipient into a part of the subject and permanently transfer inaccessible or difficult-to-convey information in such a way that the recipient can literally get inside the information and thus understand it.
Interrelationships can be perceived faster and more completely than ever before given that several information levels can be made available at the same time. The reception of these diverse levels and their cognitive processing as well as the profound understanding and comprehension of a context are much closer together in terms of space and time. It would almost be possible to say that integrative design with digital means enables and indeed ensures a fusion of reception and cognition.
Information on Demand
Information on Demand
The contents of an exhibition can often be seen, experienced and interpreted on several levels intellectually and via the senses. In the Atelier, the "information on demand" strategy developed by Uwe R. Brückner is applied when concepts are being elaborated for media applications that can serve as a second information level and help the visitor to gain access and understand particular themes and messages.
Information-on-demand enables the recipients to decide themselves on when they are given the information, as well as on the type and amount of information that is offered via the media and that they wish to consume. From the differentiated and suitably prepared layers of information, they intuitively pick out the new knowledge they want on the basis of their individual needs and in line with their personal experiential horizon. Due to this individual acquisition and sustained experience of the content, the recipients are each assigned a role that they reinforce as a result of their interaction with the scenography. They thus become participants in the narrated story or in the solution of the problem.
As an archaic level of reception for signals produced by noise, sound and music, the sense of hearing – more than all the other senses – appeals to the intuitive, the non-cognitive, and the unconscious in us. Music and sound can directly evoke emotions or influence them. A sound can unexpectedly lift our mood or make us suddenly feel sad. However, what all acoustic formats have in common is that they cannot be seen; they do not supply pre-constructed images but evoke individual internal images in the mind of the listener. As the natural scientist Lorenz Oken aptly put it: "The eye takes a person into the world. The ear brings the world into the person."
Sound has always been one of the instruments of scenography – whether as the intentionally designed sound of a space, as an atmospheric spatial sound, for acoustic explanation of exhibits and exhibition subjects or as a narrative element in the form of an audio drama or play. Sound can become the starting point or the primary supporting element of a designed space or a staged setting and is able to evoke physically accessible spatial installations. Dramatisations and staged spaces can be developed from traditional audio dramas and thus enable a completely new way of grasping and understanding content.
Light used to situate space and architecture as well as narrative spaces and objects effectively in a staged setting is a crucial element of design. Without light, objects cannot be presented three-dimensionally and hidden details remain invisible.
Scenographically-used-light does not only illuminate interrelationships, but also establishes, interprets and comments on them. Moreover, it contributes towards contextualisation of the content and thus performs an essential dramaturgical function. Light significantly shapes the aggregated states of space and narrative spaces, while injecting dynamism into settings with the help of light choreographies and making arranged sequences of spaces plausible and fascinating.
The Atelier’s light concepts are based on the integrative planning of daylight and artificial light according to the latest ergonomic and energy-consumption standards. Artificial light is always deployed and structured on three levels: architectural or spatial light, exhibition light, and stage-setting light. These three levels merge together to determine the tonality, colour and temperature of a space and can fundamentally alter it in the dimension in which the narrative space exerts its effect on the observer.
Architectural and exhibition projects are highly complex. Although they have a concrete beginning and also, when started, a defined project goal, they are often subject to considerable pressure in terms of time and costs. Solid and detailed planning combined with continuous checking and monitoring of the progress made, as well as of the budget and the quality are among the most important tools needed to ensure the success of a project.
In a project, the responsibilities and the areas of competence of each member in the team are always clearly defined. All the threads come together at the project manager interface. The project manager coordinates the work done by clients, the creative team and the specialist planners, while controlling processes and workflows on the organisational and planning level, assigning tasks, defining responsibilities, formulating objectives and time windows, and integrating everyone involved into a shared process of work.
Our maxim is to regard problems as challenges to be overcome and constructively solved with all those involved in the process. After all, in the end, it is only the result that actually counts.
- Alexandra Vassilakou Senior Architect
- Alyssa Stefani Social Media Manager
- Andreas Schirra Architect
- Anvita Trivedi Concept Designer
- Benjamin Guschlbauer Communication Designer
- Bernd Möller Associate Partner
- Birgit Kölz Communication Designer
- Björn Müller Senior Exhibition Designer
- Branka Kovacic Human Resources Management
- Britta Nagel Partner
- Buse Damla Eray Exhibition Designer
- Carmen Utz Senior Architect
- Christin Dotzel Business Development
- Christina Loechli Interior Architect
- Christine Eiche Content Manager
- Claudia Luxbacher Public Relations
- Cord-Hinrich Grote Associate Partner
- Daehan Kim Creative Manager ATBK
- Daniel Giordano Lead Creative
- Delien Martinstyine Office/Animation Assistant
- Denada Dahriu Interior Architect
- Deniz Kösmene Exhibition Designer
- Dennis Kehr Interior Architect
- Dennis Tilke Architect
- Despina Simeonidou Interior Architecture
- Deyana Stareva Architect
- Dirk Schubert Associate Partner
- Dominik Hegemann Associate Partner
- Eberhard Schlag Partner
- Ecaterina Sleichina Exhibition Designer
- Ekaterine Zirakadze Assistant Managing Director
- Elisabeth Ramm Associate Partner
- Emma Kilday Senior Exhibition Designer
- Enya Rosing Exhibition Designer
- Federica Chung-I Ferraro Architecture
- Feyyaz Sözeri Interior Architect
- Franziska Götz Content Development
- Haydar Dalci Architecture
- Hossam Dorgham Exhibition Designer
- Ilgaz Kayalp Architect
- Jana Fröhlich Associate Partner
- Jannis Renner Architect
- Jelka Ottens Interior Architect
- Julia Hager Interior Architect
- Julia Zambrzycki Personal Assistant | Interior Architect
- Jörn Küsters Senior Architect
- Kathrin Eva Seitz Senior Architect
- Kathrin Milic-Grunwald Associate Partner
- Kathrin Seitz Interior Architect
- Katja Kraiss Exhibition Designer
- Lilian Lautenschläger Graphics Designer
- Linda Greci Content Development
- Luis Duarte Senior Architect
- Magdalena Weiland Architect
- Marc Dettinger Senior Exhibition Designer
- Marco Müller Associate Partner
- Maren Vanessa Klotz Office and Event Management
- Mariana Lourenco Concept and Exhibition Designer
- Mariane Ghafari Communication Designer
- Maxwell Madden Exhibition Designer
- Meike Frankenhauser Product / Experience Designer
- Melina Gierl Architect
- Michael Reiner Communication Designer
- Michel Casertano Associate Partner
- Mihai Vanca Senior Interior Architect | BUILDING PHYSICS Dipl.-Ing.
- Mingyu Cheng Communication Designer
- Natalie Weinz Interior Architect
- Nicole Liener Office Management
- Nicolò Piana Associate Partner
- Nils Scheffler Senior Architect
- Oliver Wanke Exhibition Designer
- Pamela Resuli Architect
- Pia Friedrich Interior Architect
- Q Kim Vice President ATBK
- Rana Rmeily Associate Partner
- René Walkenhorst Partner
- Robert Heimsch Junior Architect
- Ruiting Zhang Architect
- Sami Karam Communication Designer
- Sandra Mohring Interior Architect
- Sayaka Koike Communication Designer
- Shirin Frangoul-Brückner Partner
- Sirin Unmanee Exhibition Designer
- Stefanie Klinge Partner
- Stephan Droste IT and Digital Affairs
- Stephanie Groß Interior Architect
- Sungha Kim Architect
- Susanne Pertschy Library
- Tanja Zöllner Associate Partner
- Till Zocher Senior Exhibition Designer
- Uwe R. Brückner Former Partner
- Veronica Chini Junior Interior Architect
- Wassim Melki Associate Partner
- Wijnand Veneberg Media Designer
- Xiaoyi Gu Business Development Greater China
- Yijing Lu Head of Finance
- Yujeen Chung Managing Director ATBK
- Yutong Chen Exhibition Designer
Michel Casertano has been with ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2005 and an Associate Partner since 2012. He studied architecture at the TU Munich and at the University of Bath. As main responsible in the architecture department, he is focusing on construction work in listed buildings and new builds in a cultural context. He is in charge of conception, planning, and realisation of architecture projects at ATELIER BRÜCKNER. From 2009 to 2013 he was a lecturer for media at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. He is regularly in demand as a speaker, guest reviewer, and jury member.
Shirin Frangoul-Brückner, Managing Director and founding partner of ATELIER BRÜCKNER, studied architecture at the universities of Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart. She has worked as an architect since 1994 and in 1997co-founded ATELIER BRÜCKNER with Uwe R. Brückner. Guided by the principle „making the impossible possible“ she systematically uses her competencies in project acquisition, conception, controlling and realisation. As Managing Director she is responsible for positioning the Atelier, which has since developed into one of the world’s leading offices for exhibition design.
Jana Fröhlich completed her studies in communication design at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in 2005. Since 2008 she has headed the graphics department at ATELIER BRÜCKNER and became an Associate Partner in 2018. She is responsible for the overall coordination as well as for her own projects and takes care of the graphic design from draft to print production. As a communications expert with a high aesthetic and didactic standard, Jana Fröhlich develops individual, harmonious designs, always regarding the exhibitions content and the corporate design of the customer.
Cord-Hinrich Grote finished his studies of Industrial Design at the University-GH in Essen in 1996. Since 2010 he has been working at ATELIER BRÜCKNER as Art Director and Senior Project Manager, in 2019 he became Associate Partner. As project manager, Cord-Hinrich Grote is responsible for the entire complex of his projects, from design, research and development of technical solutions to project management. He has profound knowledge in all areas of scenography and has many years of experience in exhibition design and the conception of mediatecture: aesthetically, conceptually and technically.
Dominik Hegemann finished his studies in architecture and design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in 1999. Since then, he has managed complex exhibition projects for ATELIER BRÜCKNER at home and abroad, since 2013 as an associate. He is responsible for project management and planning across all project phases. His specialist expertise lies in the development and realisation of exhibitions with a strong media element. Experiential, target-oriented formats reflect the architect’s passion for science and technology.
Stefanie Klinge completed her studies in Cultural Studies and Media Economics with distinction at Humboldt- and Freie Universität Berlin. Before joining ATELIER BRÜCKNER in 2012, she was Co-Director of an agency in Barcelona for ten years, where she was responsible for international architecture and exhibition projects. As Business Development Director at ATELIER BRÜCKNER, she built up the corresponding department, opened up new markets and made a decisive contribution to the sustained success of the company. She acquired projects and won clients of strategic importance such as the Nobelstiftung or EMAAR. After two years, during which she was successfully responsible for the strategic business development of the renowned architecture firm blocher partners, Stefanie Klinge returned to ATELIER BRÜCKNER in January 2019 as Associate Partner for Strategy and New Business. Since 2022, she has been a Partner in the Executive Board - alongside Shirin Brückner, Eberhard Schlag, René Walkenhorst and Britta Nagel.
Wassim Melki studied Architecture at the Lebanese American University in Byblos and Urban Vision at Domus Academy and the University of Wales. With a keen sense of aesthetics and a broad technical understanding, he coordinates the entire project process: from design to planning to implementation. As an ambitious project manager, he regularly leads multidisciplinary project teams to success with international clients. Wassim Melki joined ATELIER BRÜCKNER in 2012 and became an Associate Partner in 2022.
Kathrin Milic-Grunwald is a communication designer with a master’s degree in media and arts. She has been contributing her abilities in the field of design aesthetics and her strong conceptional and analytical skills to the work at ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2010, since 2018 as an associate. She shapes and structures the content of complex exhibition and design projects, and in collaboration with museum curators and brand managers presents scientific and brand content in such a way that it is conveyed spatially in three dimensions. From 2014 to 2018 she was a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London.
Bernd Möller completed his degree in interior architecture at the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart in 1995. Since 2000 he has been a project manager and since 2009 an associate at ATELIER BRÜCKNER. The interior architect’s approach to design and planning challenges is always solution-oriented in the context of sophisticated overall concepts. He strives to achieve the perfect implementation of materials and media. In presentations, workshops, and as jury member, Bernd Möller shares his knowledge and represents ATELIER BRÜCKNER.
Marco Müller studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart as well as industrial design at the Zurich University of the Arts. Since 2007 he has worked as a project architect at ATELIER BRÜCKNER and has been an associate since 2017. He is well versed in all project phases—from innovative design through to optimum implementation. His projects range from museum exhibitions and brand spaces to interior designs. He contributes his expertise in the field of interior and industrial design to projects the world over. Since 2016 he is a lecturer in design and media history at the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd.
Britta Nagel, Concept Director, heads up concept development at ATELIER BRÜCKNER and in this capacity has been the creative lead responsible for the success of numerous projects. She is passionate about materializing content in space and inspiring visitors with a memorable experience. The architect studied at the University of Stuttgart and Bartlett School of Architecture in London. She sees her role as a creative designer as one that bridges exhibition, architecture, design and art. Her strenghts lie in her ability to guide her colleagues, collaborators and clients towards an unexpected result. Britta Nagel has been a partner at ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2011.
Nicolò Piana graduated from the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice in 2005 and has been working as a design architect at ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2013. He has been an associate partner since 2022. Nicolò Piana's work develops unique spaces that tell stories and communicate content in extraordinary ways. With a focus on clear, compelling ideas and expressive design, he creates unforgettable experiences that combine education and entertainment.
As a conceptual designer with a focus on storytelling, dramaturgy and scenography, Elisabeth Ramm designs the content of our exhibitions and develops the corresponding spatial images. Her experience in the fields of exhibition, theatre, TV/audiovision and media art provides her with a broad spectrum of knowledge with which she translates complex content into space in a holistic, immersive and artistic manner. Elisabeth Ramm has been working for ATELIER BRÜCKNER in the field of exhibition conception since 2013 and as Associate Partner since 2022.
Rana Rmeily has been a visual designer at ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2014 and an associate partner since 2022. She studied Art Direction at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts in Beirut and Visual Design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan. She brings her proven expertise in graphic and media design, creativity and keen sense of aesthetics to international projects as a designer and project manager.
Prof. Eberhard Schlag
Prof. Eberhard Schlag, Project Director, joined ATELIER BRÜCKNER in 1997 and has been partner since 2008. He studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart and at the IIT in Chicago. As Project Director, he is responsible for the complex museum, exhibition and architecture projects at home and abroad, and also heads up the architecture department of ATELIER BRÜCKNER with a special focus on cultural buildings and refurbishment of listed buildings. In 2018 he founded ATELIER BRÜCKNER KOREA, of which he is Representative Director. Eberhard Schlag is a professor for architecture and design at HTWG Konstanz, where he has built up an interdisciplinary course of studies in spatial design.
Dirk Schubert is creative director and associate partner of ATELIER BRÜCKNER. whose designs have shaped our projects for 25 years. His strengths lie in the development of innovative exhibition and spatial concepts as well as in the concise communication and presentation of these ideas. In line with our philosophy "form follows content", the architect and graphic designer finds a coherent and exciting spatial design for the individual content and goals of each project. With his work as an interdisciplinary designer, he aims to create unique exhibition spaces that inspire, inform and activate visitors. Dirk Schubert's projects have won more than 200 international awards.
René Walkenhorst, project director, is responsible for the development and management of complex construction and exhibition projects worldwide. He has many years of experience in planning and realising high-quality interior architecture and sees himself as a well-versed and highly structured project director, confidently managing
even large teams. René Walkenhorst studied architecture at the universities of Hanover, Delft, and Helsinki and was co-founder of the office 5elf Architekten, before joining ATELIER BRÜCKNER in 2005. Since 2009 he has been an associate, and became partner in 2017.
Tanja Zöllner has been with ATELIER BRÜCKNER since 2008 and is Associate Partner since 2019. She completed her studies in communication design at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, specialising in object and interior design. Tanja Zöllner's well-founded and broad experience in the design and management of various exhibition projects and themes makes her one of our most experienced exhibition designers. Tanja Zöllner attaches great importance to aesthetics, materiality, functionality, experiential character, visitor and user friendliness with her attention to detail. She accompanies the projects from the first idea to the opening.
Prof. Uwe R. Brückner
As co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Uwe R. Brückner has distinctly shaped the artistic work of ATELIER BRÜCKNER. He created our design philosophy „form follows content“ and was responsible for the development of the working method „Creative Structure“. We thank Uwe R. Brückner for the formative role he has played in the company for more than 22 years.