White City is London’s next tech powerhouse

Ground-breaking work in combatting plastic waste to virtual reality (VR) tours with Sir David Attenborough is taking place.

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People will meet face to face with the legendary Sir David Attenborough in Hold The World

White City is at the heart of London’s thriving new tech hub where ground-breaking work in combatting plastic waste to virtual reality (VR) tours with Sir David Attenborough is taking place.

The booming White City tech hotspot includes Imperial College London’s new research and innovation district, the latest Royal College of Art campus, Yoox Net-A-Porter’s Tech Hub and the exciting co-working space Huckletree West.

It forms part of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Industrial Strategy (pdf) in partnership with Imperial College London to make the borough a global beacon for innovation and growth.

Upstream is a brand new joint venture between H&F Council and Imperial College London which aims to make H&F a leading destination for the biotech, digital and creative industries.

Local businesses in these industries can sign up for Upstream's newsletter to find out about their start-up clinics, networking events and activities which include a fireside chat at Central Working White City with Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer to the Mayor of London on 16 May.

Meet the legend

The independent virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) developer Dream Reality Interactive in Wood Lane has been collaborating on a project with Factory 42 to bring people face to face with the legendary Sir David Attenborough in Hold The World - an interactive VR experience in association with Sky and The Natural History Museum.

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Interior Night founder Caroline Marchalis is currently working on a new game for Sega

It will give you the chance to virtually pick up, hold and enlarge rare museum exhibits including a blue whale and a stegosaurus, while exploring areas of the museum that are usually closed to the public with an Attenborough hologram, which was created with more than 100 cameras.

Dream Reality Interactive is led by Dr Dave Ranyard whose team consists mainly of former developers from Sony’s London studio.

“We're at the forefront of several technologies, combining high quality 3D scans of objects, photogrammetry of real environments and the holographic capture of Sir David Attenborough, into something truly unique and engaging,” said Dr Dave Ranyard.

"Building on our team’s knowledge of creating immersive, interactive entertainment we embraced the opportunity to translate the creative vision of Hold the World into a seamless VR experience.”

Dream Reality Interactive is situated in the Huckletree West co-working space which is also home to video games studio Interior Night.

Founder Caroline Marchalis is currently working on a new game for Sega after more than 15 years working on story driven games.

She previously was the lead game designer on Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.

Caroline said: “We were there the first day Huckletree opened and it's been a great experience for us, being around other like-minded start-ups and super friendly staff. I love the White City area."

Read about the other firms causing a stir at Huckletree West.

Imperial College London White City campus

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I-HUB White City campus

The new research and innovation district for science, engineering, medicine and business is home to the Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB).

The pioneering I-Hub facility provides space for companies to work alongside Imperial College London researchers to turn scientific and technological innovations into new products and services.

Businesses based at the I-HUB include Polymateria, a pioneering materials company, that has developed a fully biodegradable plastic as they help tackle the global crisis of plastic pollution.

Dr Graham Chapman and his team have created a time-controlled biodegradation technology which makes it easier for plastic waste, which escapes into the environment, to be fully assimilated by nature.  

Elsewhere within the I-Hub facility, OGCI Climate Investments, is a one billion dollar start-up which is developing technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Central Working co-working space.

OCGI is working with Imperial College London to create an accurate picture of total greenhouse gas emissions across the natural gas industry from well to distribution.

In the world of medicine, Medisieve is the developer of a ground-breaking drug-free malaria treatment.

The life-saving intervention for severe and drug-resistant malaria patients uses a magnetic sieve to physically remove malaria infected blood cells directly from a patient’s bloodstream.

Dr George Frodsham started the company from his bedroom and now has offices at the Central Working space and laboratories in the Imperial White City Incubator, which offers flexible workspace and support for young businesses in the I-HUB.

Later this year, the White City campus will be home to the Molecular Sciences Research Hub, providing a new home for Imperial’s department of Chemistry.

While the £70m Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub is currently under construction.

Tech Hub

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Yoox Net-A-Porter’s Tech Hub

Yoox Net-A-Porter is using artificial intelligence (A.I) and new mobile enhancements at their new 70,000 sq ft Tech Hub in White City Place to improve their customer’s experience.

It houses a 500-strong tech team who are currently exploring the virtual personal stylist concept with a system that learns which types of clothes combine well for an outfit and can cross-reference suggestions against a customer’s purchase history.

YNAP has also partnered with Imperial College London to teach young children aged 8-14, the art of coding, with more than 150 students taking part each week, of which 70 per cent are female.

Selected students are given access to 15 hours of classes each term where they develop creative programming projects.

Royal College of Art

The newest addition to the RCA campus is equipped with state-of-the-art bespoke studio, workshop and technical spaces.

The Garden House, a 4,000sqm building, in White City Place opened last summer and houses a community of more than 700 staff and students in purpose-built studios with specialist workshops, multimedia facilities and smart zones.

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