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Sustainable futures

“45 shipping containers in Shepherd’s Bush London, with offices, workshops and biology labs for early stage startups and designers. We don’t believe in long winded business plans. We want residents to build things people want.

By hosting expensive infrastructure we are able to offer a low cost environment for biotech prototyping. Our community of like minded innovators can help you prototype inventions faster.” 

This is the mission of OpenCell London.

They had recently acquired a new space near White City when they came to us looking to support their growth through video and ensure they could attract the best tenants in sustainable design. We began with looking at their personal story and the current state of the industry to form the narrative of their entire content portfolio, ranging from 15-second event teasers to long form designer profiles.

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“SynbiCITE report that > 50% of emerging biotech startups come from outside university tech-transfer channels. Much of the growth is in London with networks, infrastructure and a deep talent pool. These businesses have to choose between empty labs, costing tens of thousands to equip, or expensive university facilities. Open Cell exists to fill to that gap.” – SynbiCite

Co-founders Helene and Tom met while working in biotech labs despite neither having a background in biology. Helene was a designer working on biology in Microsoft Research and Tom was a physicist working on synthetic biology in the University of Cambridge. After collaborating on a number of projects at the intersection of design and science they founded a biotech startup but could not find affordable lab space.

They spent a year searching for spaces, writing proposals, receiving rejections and having negotiations. Finally the team convinced U+i group, a property developer specialising in regeneration, SynbiCITE the UK’s synthetic biology industry and engineering biology industrial accelerator, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, to support the initiative.

We began by establishing brand and video guidelines for the group, defining the direction of interview questioning, the filming visual style and the distribution plan for content.

 

During the set-up of the location, we were first on the site with camera in hand to document the construction of the UK’s first technology park devoted entirely to sustainable designers.

Open Cell’s vision of creating low-cost labspace with a user-centric focus is only possible thanks to their most passionate supporter: Biotop, an Austrian science collective. Biotop’s story formed the backbone to the first of a series of profile videos featuring the brightest minds in sustainable design.

Video content has also been used to document and promote OpenCell’s participation in London Design Week as well as their partnership with the British Council.