Lights, Robot, Action!

It’s been a busy few months for Here East – the regeneration project in East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – as it inches closer to completion. Construction is well under way, and the property agents are busy meeting small and big businesses alike and showing them around the site. The first phase opens this summer, when it’ll be welcoming a mix of students, tenants and guests into a range of businesses establishing themselves on the site.

All of us who worked on Here East these past two years are well versed in the project - its origins and its ambition. However, how do you actually explain what Here East is to the rest of the world shortly and succinctly? This is no mean feat: a big space with a big ambition and big legacy to live up to requires a lot of explanation.

A simple walkthrough of the space would be breath-taking, but take us quite some time, while the vision and ambition need a lot of authenticity if they are to be believed. We decided that to explain Here East we needed two videos: one to introduce the space and its intended use, and one to explain the promise and what makes it a great space for modern creative and tech businesses to base themselves. 

Our first video is a head-turning awareness raiser aimed directly at the creative, technology and maker communities everywhere. It delivers the vision as a powerful, unashamed call-to-arms, spoken direct to camera by the new ‘face’ of Here East – our very own, custom-built 8ft robot!

We engaged local resident, animatronics guru and self-confessed maker John Nolan in what he terms a ‘dream commission’ to create a full animatronic human head. John was an obvious choice for us: we wanted to create something that people would remember, but also bring to life a vision and ethos that can be quite amorphous to people outside of the creative and tech scene. We figured that a robot head twice the size of a human one with around thirty moving parts to articulate facial muscles and create human-like expressions would do just that. We did not, however, anticipate the manpower we would need to move the robot to its filming location!

We hope this video travels far and wide and delivers it’s chest-beating message to as many folk as possible, and perhaps for the first time, actually gets people excited about the place and area they could go to work.

Our second video picks up on where the robot leaves off, and does the all-important job of describing and selling the spaces that make up Here East. It’s the ‘head’ to our robot's ‘heart’, if you please.

Gavin Poole, the CEO of Here East, introduces the space and is joined by digital and creative industry figureheads as well as pioneering tenants who have become advocates for the scheme. Policymakers, business leaders and local makers all share their thoughts on what makes the space and its spirit different to other developments in London and why they think the next generation of businesses will continue emerge out of London’s East End.

Filmed in situ at Here East in the cavernous Theatre space, it was also POKE’s first production using extensive drone footage to capture the vast spaces inside and outside.

Production duties were handled by our friends at Nexus with creative direction from the guys at The Theory, and the end result is a beautiful mix of serene fly-bys and powerful compelling arguments from some of London’s greatest.

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