Teenage Kicks

Studio photo
Squint Studios in 2015.
Thirteen years ago four friends full of reckless youthful optimism started a company. The aim? To make films which were fun yet informative and would shake up the way architecture is communicated. Thirteen years later the style and approach remains much the same but our company has grown and changed in exciting and sometimes unexpected ways. Today, Squint/Opera is a creative studio, full production house, bar and events space employing over 150 people across four countries. Along the way there have been some interesting moments, we’ve picked out a few which have helped us get to where we are today.

2003 to 2004: where it all began
We started in the corner of an architecture studio in Battersea equipped with simple camera kit and software. Our first commissions helped to communicate the regeneration of a number of post-industrial towns in England. One of the earliest examples was Bradford Picture a City, which went on to be exhibited in MoMa.

Bradford Picture a City.

2005: deep fry
Chips, a film about Will Alsop's RIBA award-winning community eco-homes, kept things colourful and playful. Before we could afford to pay for actors many of our Directors played the leading roles in our early films!


2006: everything goes 3d
In 2006 Creative Director Nick Taylor joined, bringing extensive 3d expertise which added a new flavour. Slick 3d artistry was combined with great narrative and a playful style. We were commissioned by landscape architects Grant Associates to create a visionary animated film for the spectacular Singapore Gardens. The film helped Grant's win the international design competition and put Squint/Opera on the map.

Singapore Gardens.

2007: doodle your own architectural vision
Through collaboration with talented artist Serge Seidlitz we created Doodlearth. We encouraged the public to draw on a large canvas with a projected cityscape. The aim was to reflect the multitude of styles and languages present in the beautiful chaos of modern cities.  

Doodle Earth


2008: ch-ch-ch-changes
Just as our reputation was growing, the financial crisis struck. This was a turning point. We continued to work on great projects but would also begin experimenting with new ideas and break-out projects over the coming years. We opened studios in Australia and the Middle East, began our first venture in broadcast with animations for Channel 4’s Fonejacker and opened the exhibition Flooded London, which depicted future generations of Londoners coping with rising sea levels in a mostly abandoned city.


Flooded London.

Fonejacker animation.

2009: come and draw on our walls
The warehouse below our studio was becoming deserted during the recession so we decided to whitewash the walls and start a bar with a blank canvas for creativity, encouraging local artists and the community back into our space. 2009 also saw the official launch of Squint/Opera’s sister company Coda Cola who produce all the music for our productions.


The original Doodle Bar.


 Coda-Cola studios.

2010: launching the games
This was a bumper year for us. We worked with leading sports architects Populous to launch the 2012 Olympic stadium with our playful film which was used by all major broadcasters (BBC, SKY, CNN) and completed our film about the regeneration of the World Trade Center site which was shown in subways, ports and airports across the city.

Squint/Opera's film which launched the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

 The regeneration of the World Trade Centre.

2011: when you need to know go to Okido
We happily stumbled across a fantastic scientist and a talented illustrator who'd founded Okido, an arts and science magazine for kids, we decided to make it into an animation - more on this later. Meanwhile, the Doodle Bar had been refurbished and was going from strength-to-strength, hosting pop ups and exciting urban space regenerators. Meanwhile back in our studio, the team were busy pushing technology, building an iPod controlled model of London’s Royal Docks.

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 Okido - an arts and science magazine for children aged 3 - 7.


The refurbished Doodle Bar.

 Royal Docks media table.

2012: branding and digital
We continued to explore digital and spatial projects including a website and app for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a series of media walls for Newham and Douglas & Gordan. Our studio was expanding with a growing graphic design team providing branding for a range of products and organisations such as Give Me Tap, BSkyB, Edge of Arabia, SomewhereTo and Samba Mobile.


A selection of branding projects.

2013: Olympics, World Cup and Hollywood
For the 2014 World Cup we created an award winning film and app using real time 3d visualisation, a technology also employed on the Siemen’s Crystal interactive exhibition. Our knowledge of digital media combined with a love of culture led us to a new venture creating exhibits for museums such as the V&A’s Hollywood Costumes which won the Drum Award in 2013.

The award winning film for the 2014 World Cup.

Hollywood Costume exhibition which won a 2013 Drum award.

2014: have fun and learn
Back to Okido, our kid’s TV show was commissioned by the BBC and we got in a heap of talented people to make 52 episodes, doubling our studio in space and numbers. More installations opened including WCMC Discovery Wall, an artwork created from thousands of tiny screens which communicates the work of a major medical research centre in New York.


The trailer for Okido, a 52-part series which will launch on BBC in the autumn.

 The WCMC Discovery Wall: a wall-sized digital artwork communicating medical research.

2015: BIG things
With Okido set to launch in the Autumn it has been a busy year so far. We have completed a number of films for architect Bjarke Ingels, digital media and graphic applications for the UKTI Pavilion and the Doodle Bar continues to host amazing events.

SNP1422288331 368 gallery src f1The Testbed events space: a recent event for Formula One team Mercedes.

Dryline: keeping New York safe from storms.


Graphic identity applied to a poster, book, invitation, record sleeve and vinyl for the UKTI

So what’s next?
We have plans to open more offices around the world very soon, we're continuing to explore more brilliant ideas and collaborations with talented people, we're growing our digital and post production divisions and have a couple of other top secret ventures in the pipeline.

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