Project Producing the Secret Ingredient for the Nazi Atom Bomb Agency Gagarin Year 2024 Award Bronze

Producing the Secret Ingredient for the Nazi Atom Bomb


In a move to hinder the Nazis in their nuclear arms race during World War II, Operation Gunnerside aimed -and remarkably succeeded- to cripple the crucial Heavy Water Basement at the Hydrogen factory in the secluded town of Vemork, Norway. Only 1 of the original 288 electrolysers used in the production of hydrogen and heavy water remains, which is showcased at the newly opened exhibition at the original site in Vemork.


The principle of electrolysis is still the same as the machines used today, these machines once fully covered the six floors of the hydrogen factory in Vemork. To elaborate on the purpose of the whole factory, the electrolyser needed to be explained.

Due to the complexity of the chemical principle, the story was divided into several parts that could be triggered by the visitor at their own pace - or rewound if wished for. 

To fully understand the scale and size of the process and the factory that once stood there, the original electrolyser was used as a backdrop for the whole story. The size of the machine enables the visitor to imagine the scale of the operation that once stood here. 


First and foremost the challenge was the complexity of the material. Collaborating with scientists, machine experts and historians created a mountain of information that needed to be boiled down into one simple and understandable story. Through using a graphic style that resembles technical drawings of that time, similar to today´s instruction manuals; we believe we managed to find a visual language that translates the story as clearly as possible as well as fitting within the right period. 

Secondly we wanted to make sure no one missed the immense size of the operation of the factory, as the scale was the reason for the heavy water being able to be produced only there. Therefore we fit the projection into the machine itself, creating a 1:1 scale of the machine. Zooming out from this perspective gives the correct understanding of the vastness of the factory.  


The scale of the hydrogen factory is pivotal to understanding why heavy water was being produced specifically in Vemork and the functionality of the machine is crucial to understand due to its role in producing heavy water during World War II.

This immersive experience not only connects them with the historical significance of the power plant but also sheds light on the scientific processes that influenced the course of history during World War II.


Creative Director
Gagarin / Kvorning Design
Art Director
Magnús Elvar Jónsson, Lemke Meijer, Beatriz Prados
Magnús Elvar Jónsson, Beatriz Prados
Magnús Elvar Jónsson
Lemke Meijer
Project Management
Bríet Friðbjörnsdóttir
Pétur Guðbergsson
Sunna Björk Mogensen, Jónmundur Gíslason
Exhibition Design
Kvorning Design
Kvorning Design
Interaction Design
Lemke Meijer
Sound Design
Baldur Hjörleifsson
Category 604 Digital Infographics Client Norsk Industriarbeidermuseum Country Iceland