The mutualism between Hermit Crab & Sea Anemone

This exhibition project was part of the courses exhibition design & media technology. Our goal as a team was it to build a one of a kind experience with an analogue feeling and a digital information instalment.s to build an one of a kind experience with an analogue feeling and a digital information instalment.

Project timeline

Project type

Project team

My contribution

October 2021 - December 2021

Semester III Project

Fabian Dieterich

Exhibition design

Sara Halbgewachs

Editorial design

Lisa Keller


Symbiosis, everybody has had to endure the topic at least once during their own school career. The symbiosis between hermit crab and sea anemone is considered the "perfect" symbiosis, a so called mutualism, because both symbiosis partners benefit from each other. The aim of our exhibition was to convey the topic with all its facets as pictorially as possible to visitors. The contents of the exhibition were divided into three areas: The two symbiosis partners, hermit crab and sea anemone, and the interactive part in which the symbiosis is explained.

Since the symbiosis takes place in the sea, we have chosen plexiglass as the material for the information boards in order to pick up on the lucidity of the water. The panels are in A0 format with a rotating support set in a wooden frame. The feet of the wooden frames form dry bricks. The rough material forms a reference to the rough nature of the sea, moreover, they give the wooden frames the necessary stability so that the rotation of the panels can function safely.

The spatial concept becomes open and transparent due to the arrangement of the wooden frames with the rotating panels. There is enough space between the superstructures to walk in between. The exhibition parts are modular and can be taken apart and dynamically arranged in the space. Thus, from certain angles, an image overlay of the two symbiotic partners is recognizable.

For the design we were inspired by the colors of the hermit crab and the sea anemone. We used a bright red for the illustrations and a darker purple for the textual layer. We drew the illustrations ourselves, which gave us the opportunity to be free in the depiction of the symbiosis par-tners and to create a break with the clean glass plates through the scribbled look. Text and image are printed on plot foil and adhesive foils, respectively, which were applied to the panels.

The curtain onto which the film is projected consists of wavy strips of fabric that pick up on the water movements of the sea and thus fit in with the overall image of the exhibition even with-out projection. The heart of the exhibition is the station of symbiosis. We wanted to encourage visitors to try their hand at the exhibition themselves and thus make Symbiosis a tangible experience. For this purpose we designed a table. In this table four smaller plexiglass panes can be moved. Each pane describes a part of the symbiosis. If the plates are pushed together into the right position, a film about the symbiosis starts, which is projected onto the curtain behind it.