published in:

Möntman, Nina (Eds): End of Play, A Reader about Haroun Farockis Film A New Product, Verlag Walther König, Köln: 2014

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Workplace Symptoms


We see an architectural model made of balsa wood, printed paper, coloured cardboard, Plexiglas, and adhesive. White plastic figures populate the scene. The situation comprises two levels of a large interior, set in relation to each other. They are clearly community areas with open kitchen islands and tables, chairs, even deckchairs. Spatial elements are depicted which indicate other parts of the building: glass doors in the rear walls printed with woodland motifs lead elsewhere. Behind the kitchens there are undefined yet openly accessible rooms. A flight of steps on the right leads to the upper level. One of the figures is climbing the stairs to a kind of bar or counter behind which a man stands … cooking? Kitchen components are shown in warm orange-yellow tones. A woman sits at the balustrade in front of the kitchen, gazing into the distance. The seat opposite her at the small table is empty. On the level below, a Persian carpet marks out an area with a long table and ten chairs. Behind this, again in warm colours, there is another kitchen island. Two figures sit at the table, gesticulating as they converse. A third figure with a weekend bag is just joining them. On the open area with the balustrade, probably glass-roofed, are four deckchairs. In one of them, a somewhat older, female figure with a hat is sitting up, gazing into the light-filled space of the atrium. Next to her, at the balustrade, are a man with a walking stick and a woman whose head is turned to look toward the glassroofed inner courtyard.

The picture is of a working model. We know that the model was built by Stefan Behnisch’s architectural practice. And we also know that the model was organised and designed with the help of the Quickborner Team, one of the most distinguished German post-war workplace specialists who, in the years immediately after the foundation of the firm, worked together with the Stuttgart philosophy professor Max Bense and the young Niklas Luhmann. If we did not know, however, that the picture is of a contemporary office building (2009) in the Hamburg Harbour City, we would wonder just what programme this huge interior space housed. A self-organised university canteen? Meeting places in a hostel or some other new form of living space?

Read the full text in:

Möntman, Nina (Eds): End of Play, A Reader about Haroun Farockis Film A New Product, Verlag Walther König, Köln: 2014