A visit to the Biotech hub, Open Cell

Posted on September 16, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

shepherds bush market

Shepherds Bush market

 

In the last few years, we are hearing more of the terms 'biodesign' and 'biotech', but is it a fad or a breakthrough that will change our world? Recently, I joined a design-oriented walk called 'Human: Biophilia in community and design' organised by the Design Museum and curated by Something & Son to find out more about the biophilic communities and projects that is taking place in London today.

It has been years since I visited the Shepherds Bush market, and I was surprised to learn that a biotech hub is now situated in the middle of the market. Opened last year, Open Cell is a biotech hub for startups and designers located at the Old Laundry Yard, with 45 shipping containers that have been converted into labs, workshops and office space. Founded by Helene Steiner and Dr Thomas Meany, they aim to create a low-cost labspace with a user-centric focus, and provide a flexible testbed where innovative lab designs can be rapidly installed and tested.

 

open cell

open cell

open cell

open cell

 

We were greeted by Helene Steiner at the yard, and she gave us a tour around the area and explained about the work they do. I found it encouraging to see these affordable and community-driven labs because as many of the world resources are becoming scarcer, it makes sense to use the living organism around us to create alternative, innovative and sustainable materials for our future.

We met a bio fashion designer Piero D’Angelo who uses slim mould to create textiles and fashion, which is absoultely fascinating. The slime mould would also release a scent that makes people aware of any pollution in the surroundings. I never thought I would want slime mould on my skin, but maybe it is time to change my preconception.

 

Piero D’Angelo

Piero D’Angelo

 

We also met with three architects Paola Garnousset, Pierre de Pingon and Martin Detoeuf, who are the founders of Blast Studio. The collective uses mycelium, the root network of mushrooms, and coffee cup waste to create a series of homeware and furniture called 'lovely trash'. Since 500 billion coffee cups are discarded globally and mostly end up in land, this project is a great way to upcycle these coffee cups. The cups are processed into a substrate that enables the mycelium to be fed on. This mycelium material can be transformed into vases and furniture through the 3-D laser printer. The results are very interesting and look almost like ceramics!

 

blast studio

blast studio

blast studio

blast studio

blast studio

blast studio   blast studio

Blast Studio

 

The tour of the Open Cell lab was eye-opening, and it has given me more hope about the future. I believe that not only the way we consume has to change, but sustainable innovations are necessary to change our future, and hopefully biodesign/ biotechnology will play a crucial role in the years/decades to come.

 


This post was posted in London, British designs, Fashion, Eco living & sustainability, Social issues, Designers & artists, Design, Textiles, sustainability, Biodesign and was tagged with London, eco designs, British design, sustainability, biodesign, Open cell

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