CRL represented at Open Cell's London Design Festival - Central Research Laboratory Skip to main content

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Open Cell’s London Design Festival event (19 – 23 Sep) saw an eclectric array of weird and wonderful displays, and we at CRL were pleased to find ourselves amongst these!


Open Cell’s LDF event looked to showcase ‘cutting-edge­ ideas that will shape our futures’ and it certainly did! From pottery glazed with urine (yes, you heard right) to wine bottle labels made from waste grape skins. The week saw a truly innovative cluster of biotech-related artists, designers and entrepreneurs. Whilst the 40+ startups involved did predominantly have a biotech focus, there was a mixture, including a Bubble & Squeak (a child-led initiative seeking to tackle food waste) and Studio Hache (arts studio offering free workshops to local children) – we were located in space close by to these, representing a broader spectrum of startups.


Open Cell’s LDF event showcased ‘cutting-edge­ ideas that will shape our futures’

Some of our favourites included Alice Pott’s ‘perspire’ project, which is based around the idea of making beautiful items from something we all secrete – sweat! (10 – 14 litres a day!). She’s created a process whereby sweat is crystallised, and makes beautiful formations on clothing, example below.

Alice Pott’s ‘perspire’ project is based around the idea of making beautiful items from something we all secrete – sweat!

We’d also gone and seen Jun Kamei’s incredible 3D-printed gill, made from microporous hydrophobic material, it supports subaquatic breathing by extracting oxygen from the surrounding water and dissipating the carbon dioxide that accumulates. The tech was inspired by water-diving insects that survive underwater by way of a thin layer of trapped air on the surface of their superhydrophobic skin.

Given at CRL we support entrepreneurs that make physical products, we were representing the hardware side of things. We were pleased to be in a space where the whole community, albeit having a different focus to us, understood the role we can play in the design cycle of an entrepreneurs, and how our early prototyping is of value to entrepreneurs from any sector. This was one of the topics covered in Mat and Inty’s ‘hardware is hard’ talk at the event, where attendees were getting under the skin of what is really involved in launching a product. Equally Alex and Will’s 3D printing workshop, described to attendees in detail how it can be used to prototype.


Thanks to the awesome Chip[s] Board, Ignius, Waalflower, Animaro, POW, Mimica, Studio93 and BrightSign for letting us display their products in our container. Chip[s] Board are now based at Open Cell, having completed CRL’s Accelerator programme, and it was incredible to see all of attention their innovative material was garnering.

Thanks to open cell for an incredible event!