Gagarin was hired to design and install a new exhibition at Ljósafossstöð, one of Iceland's oldest hydro stations, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland. Their brief was to create a highly interactive and modern visitor center where everyone could learn about the basics of the electrical power, the discoveries that led to the mass production of electricity and the developments of harnessing renewable energy in Iceland today. The exhibition was designed in collaboration with Tvíhorf Architects.
The result is a bright and inviting exhibition, turning the hydro station into an attractive new destination in the beautiful countryside close to the UNESCO heritage site of Þingvellir. Visitors are invited to dive into the essence of electricity and become inspired by this phenomenon, from the smallest electron to the fascinating engineering that powers all of our modern world. A large part of the exhibition consists of a powerful sound and kinetic light sculpture which is an ode to the natural phenomena that form the foundation of Iceland's renewable electricity production.
You Are Energy is the first installation to catch the visitor's attention. It consists of a big, interactive concrete wall which illuminates from within when force is applied to it. Visitors are invited to test their strength and meet the challenge of inducing an explosion.
The Lightning is an interactive table with lingering particles. The particles are positive and negative charges that attract each other, but are repelled by their own kind. When visitors collect the negatives by stroking their fingers along the surface, an imbalance caused by the build-up creates a bolt of thundering lightning, similar to what one experiences in nature.
Örsted's Compass is a reconstruction of Örsted's experiment where the relationship between electric power and magnetic power was discovered. This discovery eventually made possible the mass production of electricity.
The Reservoir is operated by visitors pumping virtual water to fill a reservoir. They learn that the energy they put into filling the reservoir with water becomes stored energy that can be used to power appliances.
The Wind Power Installation gives visitors the opportunity to compete by harnessing wind over time. On a triangulated landscape a visible wind is blowing over the landscape. Users can, by turning a knob, point a windmill in any direction and thus harnessing the constant changing wind. It is a competition between three parties over a minute and the one who captures the greatest wind wins!
Energy of the World is a tangible timeline that reviews the major milestones and discoveries in the history of electrical production.
The Generator is a reconstruction of a typical generator that allows visitors to create an oscillating current for light bulbs through the turning of a wheel.
The Power Station is a representation of a hydro- and geothermal power plant. Three wheels allow visitors to release running water and steam through large pipes. This combination generates enough power to run a large central turbine.