Office 4.0

Four years earlier, when Digithurst moved from Orwell to Royston, Hertfordshire Council offered us a piece of land on the north of the town which they wanted to develop as a business park. However, we chose instead to rent space above a row of shops in the centre. Having outgrown this office, we were again looking at the option of building instead of renting. Unfortunately, Hertfordshire Council had belatedly realised land was a finite resource and would only lease the site. Even so, here was somewhere to construct a replica of the Knigge Salon. Hecht’s brochure and the photographs taken inside the Steinkrug were used to recreate the Salon as an atrium rising into the pitched roof of a two-storey building. Offices and workshops built around the Salon gave the outward appearance of a conventional office block; however, inside was the Knigge Salon with its columns and first-floor gallery.

In the centre of the atrium, at the point in the Knigge Salon where the young refugee stood, there was a labyrinth designed and built by the artist Maggie Berkowitz. It was a scaled-down version of the one I had first seen in Chartres Cathedral, fired onto ceramic tiles. A large solid brass pendulum which, when static, hung directly over the centre of the labyrinth, was attached by a steel cord to a beam in the roof.

There was already a virtual link of sorts between the atrium and the Knigge Salon, a touchscreen terminal in the reception area that displayed company and product information. It also morphed those black and white photographs of the Steinkrug Hotel into colour images of corresponding features within Digithurst’s new building. However, only in the evening, when the building was deserted, was it possible to test that other link. Standing at the entrance to the labyrinth, it was possible to perceive myself standing in the Knigge Salon. Wait long enough and I was neither in Germany nor Britain, but in some undefined space. An experiment in transcendence and temporality – hence, the pendulum ...

... (Extracts from The Ghost in the Labyrinth by Peter Kruger)


Next chapter ...