andri pol takes a look inside CERN's swiss headquarters
andri pol takes a look inside CERN's swiss headquarters andri pol takes a look inside CERN's swiss headquarters
jan 03, 2014

andri pol takes a look inside CERN's swiss headquarters

andri pol takes a look inside CERN’s swiss headquarters
photo © andri pol
all images taken from ‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’ / courtesy of lars müller publishers




since being established in 1952, CERN (european organization for nuclear research) has been an internationally recognized center charged with the considerable task of exploring and understanding the fundamental structure of our universe. located near geneva, close to the franco-swiss border, a team of over 2,500 physicists, engineers and researchers utilize some of the most complex and vast instruments on earth, studying the particles of matter which make up the world around us. the 2,512 members of on-site staff include 1,021 engineers and scientists, 883 technicians, 397 administrators and office staff, 132 craftspeople and 79 research physicists.



photo © andri pol




in july 2012 CERN was in the news as they announced the discovery of the much sought after ‘higgs boson’ particle, often referred to as the ‘god particle’, using their large hadron collider, a giant and pioneering particle accelerator found in a 27km circular tunnel located 100 meters underground.


‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’, a book recently published by lars müller, includes a wide selection of photographs, taken by andri pol, which offer a unique insight into life at the company and a glimpse into the lives of the characters behind one of the world’s most scientifically complex institutions.


scroll down to see further details, as well as designboom’s review of the publication.



photo © andri pol




review: ‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’


generally speaking, the working quarters of high-profile organizations such as CERN are protected, private environments where public attention is not desired or welcomed. however ‘inside CERN’, allows the reader views into the daily lives of the engineers and scientists constantly working in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. renowned swiss photographer andri pol was invited to bring his camera inside the geneva campus, documenting the building and its occupants over an extended period of time.



photo © andri pol




‘we talked about places without pictures, about institutions and facilities in our society that are known but not generally accessible. everyday life in the vatican, the world bank from inside, the people at CERN – can photographs communicate the ordinary, typical, and inimitable qualities of a place? can photographs capture and visualize the aura of science?’ taken from the preface written by lars müller and andri pol.



photo © andri pol




432 pages of the highest image and paper quality include an insightful essay by peter stamm, a writer who spoke at length with many of the organization’s employees, in addition to a text by rolf heuer, director general of CERN. the candid, yet rich photography fully captures the spirit of the workplace and the acute levels of dedication and detail embodied in each member of CERN’s diverse team.



photo © andri pol




throughout the publication, a fascinating juxtaposition is established, contrasting reassuringly familiar scenes with some of the most complex pieces of scientific equipment anywhere in the world – a worker is shown seemingly exasperated by a coffee machine, while another employee is visible taking a sip of water meters from the hadron collider itself. the photographer presents his subjects amongst mountains of stacked books, tangled in webs of cables and immersed in endless scrawls of equations and formulae.


‘inside CERN’ not only documents the inner workings of the company, but also brings to life a previously closeted environment, an intimate and revealing portrait of the people of CERN.



‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’, copyright lars müller publishers



‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’, copyright lars müller publishers



‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’, copyright lars müller publishers



‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’, copyright lars müller publishers



‘inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research’ cover, copyright lars müller publishers



inside CERN – european organization for nuclear research
authors: andri pol, peter stamm and rolf heuer
edited by: lars müller
design: integral lars müller
publisher: lars müller publishers
year: 2014
format: 200 × 275mm
features: paperback, 432 pages
language: english
ISBN: 978-3-03778-275-0


designboom rating: (excellent, recommended)

  • One big electro magnet it is. Sometimes, the best architecture is the expression of bare bones engineering. Kudos to all and a Happy New Year!

    Tung Cab says:
  • Nice photography. It’s time this facility was put on record.

    Personally I don’t know who or why humans want to do experiments with a high degree of potential annihilation as the result.

    I have read from many reports (written by the scientific perpetrators) that whatever they are colliding and seeking has no known outcome and there is a very high risk of vapourising the planet and surrounding solar system (to some extent).

    So who gave these people my permission to mess with nature? And who gave them the money to build this pointless laboratory ? There are numerous unanswered questions about this endeavour yet to be explained openly.

    bilbaggins says:
  • Sorry Tung Cab, CERN does not have the potential to annihilate anything, only the careers of the scientist working there. This is not a pointless laboratory, this is the highest-end fundamental research facility in the world, and if you are making comments on this website is because CERN invented the web. The benefits for the society of this kind of places are impossible to measure, but the main one is: cancer therapy. The particle accelerators will maybe save your life one day, and to develop them, you need this.

    Nobody says:
  • @ NOBODY… I do hope you’re 100% correct. My understanding is they do have the potential to evaporate the planet. In the meantime if they can cure cancer, please focus on that.

    bilbaggins says:
  • For those who do not know what they are looking at , >>> it would have been nice to have a few words of description with each picture.
    thank you

    Paedra says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
490,452 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample