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Size:

8,000 sq ft

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Location:

Oxfordshire

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Activity:

Software and Technology

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Duration:

6 weeks

We’ve helped Living Optics to move from an unusable office space to a brand new, high-spec headquarters in just six weeks.

The camera tech firm has relocated its 30-strong team to new, fit for purpose accommodation at Milton Park, a vibrant and innovative community for exciting tech companies.

From modelling and testing to the delivery of a modern office and lab space, this was a project marked by close relationships, strong communication and our ability to work at a truly rapid pace.

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Living Optics is a University of Oxford spin-out which develops hyperspectral cameras that capture information undetectable to the human eye.

The company was formed from the University’s physics department less than three years ago and secured £20 million of Series A funding in 2022. The investment will fund the development of the complex engineering and software applications required for the camera technology.

Overview

There is a real excitement at Living Optics about its mission to democratise hyperspectral cameras.

Its new technology can see beyond the red, green and blue of conventional cameras, detecting more than 50 colours at every pixel and revealing otherwise invisible details and data. It could be used to detect tumours, assess food freshness, sort plastics for recycling and even determine the health and biodiversity of soil.

Yet the challenge of producing new miniature mass-market cameras, also revealed a critical need for the business to find more space and facilities to accommodate its rapid growth. It was a problem worsened by the flooding of its existing premises, which made the speed of transition all the more important; lab space simply cannot be replicated at home.

With a one-day lead-in, we were commissioned by Living Optics to deliver a headquarters where its people could work, meet and collaborate.

Team members would be in occupation in the new space during the course of the works, lab equipment would need to be transported from one side to another and the entire project needed to be wrapped up in less than 30 working days.

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Project completion

Our relationship with Living Optics is unquestionably the key factor in enabling this project to be completed in incredibly short timescales.

Young, dynamic and eager to collaborate, the Living Optics team had a clear vision for its new space and through our delivery of design workshops, we agreed to focus attention on core features that would have the most impact.

Together, we pinpointed a striking, central kitchen island as a key space for its team to socialise and welcome guests. We designed an open plan meeting area, touchdown spaces, private meeting rooms and booths, as well as places for focused work, with additional blackout lab space for light-controlled research.

We also built models to test the space and help Living Optics to visualise how it would work when fully completed.

The agreed design was fast tracked from pre-construction to delivery, with effective communication and a strong team of experienced sub-contractors allowing things to move smoothly throughout.

Works were delivered in two phases and a temporary partition was built to enable us to segregate lab areas from occupied office space. Our team handed over the new lab in just four weeks, with the overall project finished a fortnight later.

Despite the speed of turnaround, the quality of the finished product really stands out. Not only will this impressive new office accommodate up to 30 of the brightest minds in the sector, it also provides room for Living Optics to continue to grow.

We are thrilled to have delivered this exciting new space for Living Optics. It’s been a huge pleasure to work in close collaboration with an expanding tech company at the vanguard of innovation. The speed of this project was the biggest single challenge we faced. We are grateful for the skill and dedication of our superb team, including our network of trusted supply chain partners, for handing over a modern, high-tech workplace that delivers everything Living Optics asked us for.

Tom Parsons

Sales Director

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Milton Park's location, its adaptable facilities and the vibrancy of its occupier community was a natural fit for Living Optics. Our new headquarters – complete with laboratory, meeting room and collaboration spaces – suit our future needs perfectly.

Connor O'Brien

Finance Director at Living Optics

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