Inside world's smallest escape room

| Patricia Reyes

A shiny silvery box, self-declared the world’s smallest escape room, invaded the Vrijhof library today. Its area did not seem to surpass two square meters, so we were intrigued by which riddles and puzzles could fit in such a tiny space. To find out, we had no choice but going in and attempting to make a grand escape as quick as possible.

The room could be easily spotted in the library’s first floor. Creators Jelle de Bruijn and Leo van der Veen were hanging out around the installation receiving curious students and motivating them to try it.

We exchanged some words with them while we were lining up. ‘Just don’t use any violence!’, they instructed us as they opened the entrance door.

Inside the room

Within the small installation, we found ourselves in a 1980s’ set up. There was green mint tapestry on the walls and jazzy elevator music. As it was probably used in offices from those days, there was a board listing the employees’ names in embossed labels, a metal cabinet, a typewriter.

What came next was a brief recording of a story: once upon a time, an unfortunate guy needed to work late at the office on a Friday evening. After finishing his duties, he was eager to go home but found himself trapped in the building. Now, we must help him figure out a way to unlock the door.

We started looking for the solution as soon as the story ended. The answer sounds obvious once you hear it, but it takes a bit of imagination to get there. While we managed to open the door after a few seconds, we also watched some other people running out of time.

Our visit to the escape room helped us disrupt our ordinary mental patterns. With their tiny creation, De Bruijn and Van der Veen’s gave us lots of fun within a couple of minutes.

Behind the room

Jelle de Bruijn is a UT alumnus who has been working on theatrical expressions of absurdism for over 10 years. Leo van der Veen is both a software developer and artist who joined De Bruijn and helped him translate some of his craziest ideas into physical installations. Their work has been presented at festivals and events in U.K., Denmark, New York, France, amongst other places. Check out actic! and nr37 for more of their productions.