Natural Gas – Energy from Nature
True friendship never dies: two regional natural gas suppliers – Erdgas Südsachsen GmbH and Stadtwerke Chemnitz – wanted to present themselves as an alternative to the sector’s big players. They aimed to call on the region’s deep sense of community to add an emotional slant to the otherwise sober subject of natural gas. The companies’ values of reliability, market closeness and safety were to be used to differentiate them from giant corporations.
The mammoth project involved thousands of – mostly very young – workers who often describe the time as the biggest adventure of their lives. These positive memories and the pride experienced in delivering energy to half of Western Europe through this enormous effort endure to this day. We wanted to reawaken these feelings and forge a link to our clients. krafthaus converted the pedestrian area in the East German city of Chemnitz into a “construction site” with ten lengths of pipeline each up to six metres in length that the public were free to enter and explore. Photographs and short texts revived the once familiar daily routine and contemporary witnesses reported their personal experiences.
To illustrate the enormous scale of the project, the sections of a symbolic pipeline were connected by a yellow line showing cities and distances along the route. The line also served to guide visitors through the exhibition.
The photos that many of the participants provided illustrated just how impressive and dramatic the undertaking had been. The brutally honest presentation of the sometimes adverse conditions and the early involvement of former construction workers in the concept lent it a high degree of authenticity.
The concept proved a success. The local reaction was excellent and our project was nominated for the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany and received an ADC Bronze Nail.