Shadow Robotics

Over the last 20 years Shadow Robot Company – one of Britain’s longest running robotic firms – have developed the world’s finest robot hand. Heat Island were chosen to design and deliver a new headquarters for their now rapidly growing international team.

Our design is rooted in the workflow of a complex, high-tech business, and creates affordances for future development in an unpredictable and fast-moving environment.

Modules constructed from CNC cut three-layer timber panels

Profiled module edges
Folded steel and peg shelving system

Reflecting Shadow’s position as the go-to people for automation and robotic solutions, the workspace system was manufactured off-site using digital fabrication. The space is structured around a series of bespoke modular elements that create flexible laboratories, workshops and spaces for meetings and human-robot collaboration.

The modules are fully demountable with minimum waste – repeatable and reconfigurable for changing future use and growth.

Detail of CNC lathed pegs and lazer cut folded steel shelving
Module assembly drawing

The adaptable modules form a colourful centrepiece with numerous functions: organising teams, creating communal spaces, facilitating robot demos, housing purpose-made desks to enable highly-detailed work; as well as drawers, hidden doors, folding desks, climbing plants and the all-important sliding whiteboards that help make Shadow a unique and innovative place to be.

Base module detail
Hidden sliding doors and acoustic curtains periodically screen off IP sensitive work

Sliding whiteboards support Shadow’s daily workflow
Acoustic curtains for IP sensitive demonstrations and testing

Demonstrations and testing
Electronics and production

To support and create efficiencies in the robot design and build process, HI developed a prototype desk in collaboration with Shadow’s engineering teams.

The desks keep power, data and tools uncluttered and close at hand. Trays and upstands aid metal swarf and cable control; metal edges allow for clamping whilst integrated earthing strips facilitate detailed electronic work.

Desk detail
Desk components exploded

Desk assembled

Against the backdrop of discussions over work in the era of increasing machine autonomy, Heat Island are designing the future of work in partnership with those designing the future of technology.