Designing re:publica: Mirror Design and Architecture at re:publica TEN

This year we celebrated the 10th re:publica and what a party it turned out to be! TEN is NET was the central theme and the all-round design showed that you are re:publica! Check out how our designers and architects put it all together. What's more: the German Design Council has even nominated re:publica TEN's design for the German Design Award in the category “Excellent Communication Design”. Congratulations!

For three days in May, re:publica and STATION were transformed into gigantic hall of mirrors and became a place where old hands and new friends came to meet, talk about the good old days and discuss their visions of the future. The mirrored elements increased the networking atmosphere because each angle allowed participants to so see each other and reflect. One could see one's self out from the crowd, disappear in it and be an important part of the community all at the same time. As our motto states: you are re:publica!

That is why we started off with “TEN = NET” and the fundamental idea of reflecting on all past re:publica events with the questions: “What was good, where do we come from, where are we going?”. We also wanted to reflect us, you and our community in the aesthetic design. Our architect Mathias Lücking and Spreekulissen in cooperation with visual experts Norman Palm and Malte Rettberg (fertig design) took on this challenge and furnished STATION Berlin with countless reflective surfaces and a consistent black-and-white design throughout. You, the community, were the colourful elements being reflected back into the space. The design and the previously presented iconography were perfectly integrated into the mirror aesthetic.

In terms of architecture, Mathias developed a modular system which was functional while maintaining a sense of rhythm and poise. All exhibitor stands were structured on a 60cm grid and the resulting gridlines would be custom designed with TEN/NET mirrors, tabletops, shelve floor and other elements.

For visitors, the “Welcome” cube in the courtyard was the first highlight on their exploration of the venue. The one-way mirrors were acquired even before the design team were sure about what to do with them. Soon Mathias, Norman and Malte developed the new cube, which would be accessible and allow one to see out into the courtyard and the assembled crowd. Guests could stand inside unnoticed and reflect on the comings and goings outside. Standing in the cube made you visually disappear completely, whilst still being fully in the throng of participants outside. The cube brought together elements of audience and performance, while at the same time explicitly focusing the sense and association of “interrogation” and “surveillance”.

When entering the main hall one could see the large TEN / NET hoovering above the exhibitor and partner booths. It allowed the concept of reflection to be visualised in a three-dimensional space and mirrored you and all guests as spectral colours.

As in every year, the Main Stage was the heart of re:publica and its circular format suggested a birthday cake. The design team created a spectacular stage setup in the form of a concave mirror. Participants sitting on the bleachers and stands could see themselves in the “huge folding mirrors” and their reflection created the illusion of each speaker being in the round. The folding mirror visual was recreated in variations through the other stages as well.

This year also featured our new networking area. A further hall behind the Main Stage served to attract participants to the many innovative and cleverly integrated formats for networking. The space was used by participants to meet, exchange ideas and attend the dynamic “Lightning Talks” and “Meet Ups”, which served to bring both audience and speakers to a common level and allow for topics and positions to be discussed and reflected upon. The space also featured a bar and an addition to the main seating area from the main hall. All these elements transitioned into the outside re:lax area.

For sustainability reasons, the crates you might remember from 2014 and the plastic chairs we've used since 2012 served their purpose again this year, too. They were featured in the main seating area in main hall, served as speaker lecterns and seating. The re:publica TEN design team also transformed some of them into the awesome re:wheels. The creates were kitted out with large bicycle wheels and a shelf for laptops and could this way be wheeled around the venue like a wheelbarrow and create “on-the-fly mobile conference spaces”. The already mentioned modular wood design from the main hall will also be implemented in future years in various new ways in order to maintain sustainability. In the case you are interested renting parts of the re:publica modules, please feel free to contact us! 

TEN ist NET!


Visual Identity, Grafikdesign: fertig design
Architecture & Design: Mathias Lücking
Motion Design:JUTOJO
Sound Design: Ville Haimala
Photo Credits: re:publica (CC BY 2.0)