Gazprom Neft is a vertically integrated oil company. It ranks in top 10 world public companies with proved reserves of liquid hydrocarbons and in top 3 largest oil production and refining Russian companies in the industry. It specializes in high-tech oil and gas production and in efficient and eco-friendly petroleum products manufacture and distribution. Zifergauz is a technological space for teams of industrial digital transformation developers. Here robots are assembled, drones programmed, equipment 3D printed, neural networks trained, industrial gadgets and telemetry sensors created and blockchain services for wireless networks developed. All these technologies are used at Gazprom Neft for digital geological exploration, plants automation, remote drilling management, logistic robotics and even for the company’s own icebreakers’ equipment. Business target The goal was to create the largest digital space in Saint Petersburg — contemporary, transformable, the one that would embody the very spirit of the company and the future of the smart energy technologies. Design concept The interior scenario is based on the idea of continuity from the past to the future. Built in mid-19th century the building organically combines its historical architectural legacy and cutting-edge functionality of the futuristic technical centre. Zifergauz is designed to embrace digital reality and advanced ideas. It stands at the site where under Peter the Great history took a new turn and the great Russian fleet saw its early days. The building was designed to vertically store the timber delivered for the needs of the Admiralty shipyards. The key idea of the project is to generate more free space, to make the interior visually lighter. This new concept is conceived as an attempt to go outside the brick margins of the building, which are just too tangible, frozen in time, and to fill the monotonous dark enfilades with fresh air and creative energy. Introducing new structures and elements to the existing architectural context spurs conflict of the materials — two-layered glass portals visually push aside brick walls which stand too close and balance the dominating warm red-orange brick colour with cold shades of blue. The transparent blue glowing portals, interactive media screens, multilayered ceiling systems, hiding ventilations systems, biodynamic lighting — all contribute to defying the brickwork supremacy, cramped and dark spaces initially aimed for timber storage and drying. Combining contrasting surfaces, textures and materials creates the feeling of a compressed spring which when coming to life gives the space an impulse to move and transform. Glass surfaces with their reflections, vibration of greenish-blue shadows turn into portals to new dimensions. Marine themed murals by Andrey Shelyutto also play the role of portals. They are placed in niches near staircases and lifts — where there is a need to navigate the human flow within the Digital Transformation Centre. The murals stand for the 9 letters of the word «Цифергауз» (Zifergauz spelled in Russian Cyrillic) thus illustrating its concept. The name itself reflects its architectural and historical connections with the packhouse at the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island, which previously housed the Naval Museum exhibiting ship models from Peter the Great’s collection, and with the arsenal — a naval storehouse, which in the 19th century became a building of a what-to-become Zifergauz. The murals series illustrates the semaphore flag signaling system. Each mural is an allusion to Giorgio de Chirico, Alexander Deineka, Andre Derain or Caspar David Friedrich and has a hidden flag in it which stands for a particular letter. The semaphore flag signaling system and the image of the sea serve as an archetype of the new digital space communication. The archaic nature of the semaphore signs is reflected in the icons of the navigation system. It was also designed by Shelyutto: the graphic icons are ironic but also lapidary as petroglyphic drawings. Zifergauz is a huge contemporary art project and challenges a guest to interpret it, thus giving each time new visual and spatial experience. The space here is constantly moving, changing, upgrading and expanding as a sea scape. The interior is perceived as a never-ending journey or a quest into the history and architecture of the building. Zifergauz accumulates and elaborates the theme of space expanding in time — the theme recurrent in many VOX Architects project. Interreflections of the glass surfaces and the green light beam piercing through the brickwork are a reference to the transparent partitions geometry and blue lighting — as if glowing over the imaginary horizon that we used in our Horizon project for priority pass lounge of Platov airport in Rostov-on-Don; the luminous staircase with aluminum chains stretching through the building floors is reminiscent of yet another portal — the spiral staircase in a vertical light column that arranges the Saratov Gagarin airport VIP-lounge interior… Here in Zifergauz the idea of travel in space transforms into an image of a time machine that can bring you from the 18th century straight to the 21st and show you the historic building’s new life. The theme of historical continuity is represented with three pine-tree trunks installations scattered over the building floors. These ship masts stream up from the building’s past through it expressing its very essence and striving for the future. It’s not only the symbol of nature that adds fresh air to the historical building, on top of that — it is the symbol of the wood which is destined to become a ship ready to set sail into the sea of exploration and discoveries. In Zifergauz you can feel the future — it is not yet here, but it sure is to come. Space arrangement The design of the Digital Transformation Centre is based on the image of a digital future. It is a one-of-a-kind dynamic space with multiple technological functions. It comprises digital laboratories for developers, lecture halls for large-scale business and educational events and an innovative public space. Zifergauz guests are welcomed to the digital art gallery. Its mission is to show how close man and technologies are and to convey the atmosphere of inspiration with inventions and break-through ideas of Russian media artists. There’s also a mobile space for educational projects with pupils and students. The conference-hall and the lecture-hall are the places where people share their ideas, discoveries and experiences. They are equipped with telescopic lecterns, relocatable stages and transformable walls, that enable to accommodate over 200 people during events. The digital art gallery and the conference-hall can be merged by means of the automized system of rotating arch glass partitions. It was specifically designed for the Digital Transformation Centre: the partitions follow the original arches shapes and rotate around the axis. The glass in partitions is made by Smart Glass technology which enables to alter the transparency and to project an image when the glass turns matte. Zifergauz guests can enjoy the exclusive video streaming from digital laboratories. The office zone with an autonomous entrance is a flexible structure, comprising an ergonomic open space zone, co-workings, conference rooms, areas for recreation and socializing, eat-it kitchens and coffee-points. In order to integrate all the Zifergauz spaces and sites we created a special conceptual design feature — the entrance lobby staircase which unites building floors. This complex translucent architectural object spirals upwards, visually piercing the solid brick arches and transforms into something different — a portal to a new dimension. Innovations and Technologies The versatile planning solution, extension constructions and rotating arch partitions enable to quickly transform the Zifergauz space to answer the needs of creative projects and daily work goals. The overall style and interiors can be transformed by means of 596 multimedia screens and glasses with alterable transparency. The panels in open space zones are interactive and can be turned into screens to demonstrate presentations and management dashboards on. The relocatable module conference-rooms also enhance transformation, they can easily be disassembled and then reassembled in a different place. The Gazprom Neft Digital Transformation Centre complies with the Well-standard: multifunctional working places, access to filtered drinking water, biodynamic lighting, green spaces, air cleanup and recovery system, installed into smart-ceilings, sensor-based water supply management systems, digital control «smart house» system, acoustic comfort technologies, eco-friendly flooring materials, foam aluminum sound absorbing panels, two-layer tempered glass soundproof structures. Altogether they create the environment to comfortably generate innovations in the sphere of smart energy.