Julien Vaissieres of Batch.Works @ Container 56
Batch.Works produces everyday products, including pens, desk tidies and lamps, in a matter of minutes using 3D printers.
The idea is to offer locally sourced versions of products that are usually manufactured thousands of miles away, while still being affordable as well as easily customisable. The rule is simple: they don’t hold stock and always manufacture products to order.
In 2016, the company - run and set up by Julien Vaissieres - was awarded the Retail Star award by global e-commerce store Etsy. Julien decided to establish the studio at Containerville two years after launching the business from a tiny workshop at the back of his house.
Walking into the ground-floor container, you can hear the gentle hum of the 3D printers at work, and an assortment of brightly coloured pens and hexagonal lamps line the shelves.
“I trained as an architect and spent years sitting behind an office desk, but I just wanted to make stuff,” explains Julien.
“So I decided to buy my own 3D printer and started making small products from home. They were just for family and friends at first, but then I began selling them at markets and online through sites like Etsy.”
The fledgling business soon outgrew his home workshop, so he decided to move the 3D printer to Machines Room, a community of east London designers and artists based in a warehouse on Vyner Street. However, after the rent doubled, Machines Room moved across the road to Containerville - and Julien followed suit.
“We moved within three weeks and luckily it was very simple, with all amenities already in place at Containerville,” Julien says.
“It’s great that we now have our own self-contained space for when you need to focus, while still being able to interact and share tools with the other makers at Machines Room next door.”
Once Julien had relocated, he launched Batch.Works as a company and began working there full-time, dropping his role as a part-time architect.
He says the unit is a “perfect match” for the 3D printing business.
“We are a micro-factory and we believe in distributed manufacturing so shipping containers are the dream space for us. Eventually, we hope to replicate the container in other cities, so we can manufacture our products locally in other places too. And if we wanted to expand the site here, we could always get a second container. It’s very scaleable - you don’t have to suddenly go from 26 square metres to 100.
That’s the thing with Containerville - it’s like Lego.”
Julien also highlights the community spirit at the site - interacting with other creative businesses.
“Having all these different businesses around is really inspiring and there are lots of communal spaces around to share with people,” he says. “It’s often very useful too. Who needs Amazon Prime when you can source what you need right here?”
The canal-side location is another highlight.
“Before we set up here, I would always pass by the containers on my way to Broadway Market and think ‘What awesome offices’. It’s a bonus too that they’re next to these amazing gas holders - you couldn’t be any closer.”
Julien enjoys cycling to work each morning by the canal through Victoria Park.
If you’d like to know more about Batch.Works, take a look at: https://batch.works/