Behind-the-scenes in Berlin
Madame Tussauds is known the world over for its accurate waxwork depictions of celebrities, political figures and sporting legends. An important but less obvious feature of each museum is the sets the figures are presented in. Philipp van Stratum of P&P Projects in the Netherlands, which recently finished working on the new Madame Tussauds Berlin, gives Park World a little insight.
is the first new Madame Tussauds to be built under the ownership of Merlin Entertainments, but has a similar blueprint to the Washington site. We were responsible for the theming and fit out of the job, which meant building walls, scenic elements, backdrops and props for the characters.
We first worked on Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam, where we built a huge animated character. Generally, there are a lot more interactive elements than there used to be in each Tussauds attraction. Unlike Amsterdam, however, where you find highly-detailed medieval streets, there is less traditional theming in Berlin and the sets are more abstract.
Working in capital cities is always a challenge when you consider the logistics and the fact that the multi-layered buildings used were usually not designed for this purpose. The time scale involved in construction can also be a challenge, but we have a good relationship with Merlin, and have done many projects with them now.
Our first job for Tussauds, as the company was then, was in the early nineties when the London Planetarium had a major facelift. Since then we have been involved in the production and development of several Merlin brands, and we love them all because we can use our skills in different ways. My personal favourite, however, is the original Madame Tussauds site in London because of the Spirit of London taxi ride. I am a great fan of dark rides, especially if they are well made and can surprise and inspire me. This one did.