We Are Celebrating 75 Years
In 2016, which marks our 75th anniversary, we not only look back on our rich array of experiences, bold decisions and valuable insights, all of which were made possible by our entire body of current and former forward-thinkers, doers, planners, developers, and decision-makers — we also continue to build steadily on our knowledge base and improve our systems. We continue to look forward to, and can hardly await, the challenges the future holds for us.
Innovative Ideas Pay Off
Founded as a carpenter's workshop in 1941 by Heini Nüssli, the company benefited greatly from the postwar construction boom. NUSSLI was working at full capacity on contracts for the agricultural buildings in the region surrounding Hüttwilen, and grew rapidly. Despite this, Heini Nüssli continued his search for new challenges and products. In the early sixties, he invented the revolutionary wedge coupler for tubular scaffolding construction. Compared to the couplers in use until that point in time, NUSSLI's wedge couplers could be mounted quicker, easier, and without a wrench.
At the same time, Heini Nüssli continued to improve his frame scaffolds. By the mid-sixties, he was conducting a very successful trading operation with frame scaffolds, and supplying construction companies all over Switzerland.
The first scaffold project: Church tower in Stammheim TG, Switzerland
NUSSLI's Inaugural Appearance at the National Wrestling Festival
From conducting trade with scaffolding elements and the construction of scaffolding, it was not long before the company began building temporary grandstands. The National Wrestling Festival was its first time. In 1961, NUSSLI built the grandstand systems for the Swiss National Wrestling Festival in Zug for the very first time. Back then, they used tubular scaffolding with wooden planks. This marked the beginning of an unbroken series of projects that lasts until today.
New Projects and Growth Require Bold Moves
Creativity, audacity and innovative ideas characterized the drive of this young, growing company. Indeed, in 1972 NUSSLI was awarded a contract for eight competition sites with a total of 30,000 spectator seats — all in Olympic yellow — for the Summer Olympics in Munich. First of all, the company needed to manufacture the construction materials for this major contract. A new, improved system — the NUSSLI grandstand — was developed, and after the event proved to be a profitable investment for many contracts after that.
A New Dimension of Events
Apart from the National Wrestling Festival, NUSSLI was also responsible for one of the largest events in Switzerland for the very first time in 1997: the Fête des Vignerons (Winegrowers' Festival) in Vevey.
For this traditional winegrowers' festival, which only takes place once every generation in Vevey, western Switzerland, NUSSLI built a round spectators' arena with 16,000 seats in 1977.
Initial Experiences with Stage Construction
The construction of a stage in the year 1985 for the opera Aida in the multipurpose Hallenstadion Zurich marked the next step in the company's development, and opened up a new field of application for its system elements. The company began with opera stages in Switzerland, then went on a world tour with "Carmen" — and to top it all off, a mighty rock stage: In 1990, Pink Floyd performed "The Wall" in Berlin, and NUSSLI built a stage measuring 300 meters for the event. And in doing so, it gained international prominence. After the subsequent rock stages for concert tours — Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, Peter Maffay, Wolfgang Petri, Herbert Grönemeyer and many more — NUSSLI shifted its focus more towards the construction of open-air stages for music festivals.
From Custom Structures to Exhibition Stand Construction
Apart from grandstand and stage projects of all types and on all scales, NUSSLI continued to gain an increasing amount of experience with custom structures — i.e. structures that are not built using prefabricated elements, but instead need to be custom-built. In the beginning, contracts for such structures mostly involved backdrops, but soon also included pavilions and exhibition stands. The initial small-scale exhibition stand construction projects at the Geneva Motor Show in 1996 and a year later at the IAA in Frankfurt did not fulfill the clients' quality expectations at first. However, the NUSSLI team's willingness to go the extra mile ultimately ensured full customer satisfaction. Furthermore, with each new project, they gained a great deal of valuable know-how. True to the company's motto at that time — up to the challenges — NUSSLI continued to gain steam with BMW's hall at the IAA in Frankfurt in 2003, and a year later with the construction of booths in Hall 6 at Baselworld.
The pavilion projects at the World Expo 2000 in Hanover were risky, but a particularly enriching experience nonetheless. But just two years later, NUSSLI proved its comprehensive exhibition stand and pavilion construction expertise at expo.02 in Switzerland.
NUSSLI installed its first custom structures in the form of backdrops for the Bregenz Festival
Not only the size, but also the high-quality workmanship required for the membrane cushion facade, polished-glass doors and external lifts of the BMW exhibition building at the IAA tested the limits of the NUSSLI exhibition stand construction team's abilities.
At 26 meters wide and 23 meters high, the "Cyclebowl" (as it was called at the World Expo 2000 in Hanover) was a highly complex structure: The load-bearing structure, a 250-metric-ton steel skeleton, was covered with transparent film that supported an air current on the inside.
At the World Expo in Hanover, 40,000 beams of Swiss Douglas fir and larch were fitted together to form a wooden structure, creating the "Swiss Sound Box" by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
Aua Extrema, the exhibition by the eastern Swiss cantons at Expo.02 in Neuchâtel showcased extraordinary sights: a water wood, an ice flower house, a water panorama, and a water bar.
Fascinating, but also unsettling. At the pavilion Empire of Silence at Expo.02 Arteplage in Biel/Bienne, visitors were transported to a fantastic world filled with silence.
No small feat: building a metal cube weighing almost 4,000 metric tons — the Monolith — 200 meters from the shores of lake Murtensee at the Expo.02 in Switzerland.
Always Bigger and Increasingly Complex
The company had grown to approximately 200 employees by the turn of the century. The many international projects led to the founding of branch offices in Germany, and later Spain, the USA, Italy, and Austria. In addition to long-term project partnerships for events such as the Formula 1 at the Norisring and the 500-Mile Race in Indianapolis, the Paléo Festival, wrestling festivals, the Thunerseespiele festival, and much more, NUSSLI received an increasing number of extremely complex projects as well as planning contracts: the Crystal Hall in Baku, the World Cup Finals in Schladming, and the Audi Hall at the IAA in Frankfurt are just a few examples.
The Crystal Hall in Baku, Azerbaijan, is as large as a soccer arena and uses a modular steel construction design. Its extraordinary crystalline exterior appearance is due to its outer shell membrane, which houses 45,000 LED lights.
Planning for a finish arena with space for 28,500 spectators began a whole three years before the 2013 Ski World Cup in Schladming.
For the legendary Indy 500, NUSSLI has built 22,000 temporary seats, ground sheets, terraces, fences, media platforms, and platforms for the disabled each year for over 30 years.
Since its inception, NUSSLI has built the stage, grandstand, sponsor platforms and management section with a VIP platform for the Thunerseespiele every single year. Shown here is the 2012 performance of “Titanic the Musical.”
With a hanging urban landscape, Audi created an impressive immersive landscape covering 3,400 square meters on the theme of urban mobility at the IAA 2013 in Frankfurt.
Nine in One Go
2015 was NUSSLI's year at the Expo Milano. It is the eighth World Expo in a row that NUSSLI has been actively involved in. This time, the company realized nine pavilions practically on its doorstep, and implemented more projects than any other provider in Milan. Once again, NUSSLI thought outside the box and became a turnkey solutions provider by also providing operational services.