UCL News


Seven Questions with... Arnav Kele

31 May 2023

This week we’re joined by UCL alumnus Arnav Kele, who is making waves in the world of sustainability and biodesign. From joining the UCL Hatchery, to launching his startup Phyta Biodesign, Arnav recalls his favourite memories at UCL.

Arnav Kele

What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future? 

As the Co-Founder and CEO of Phyta Biodesign, a UCL-based startup, I'm driven to help businesses achieve net zero. Growing up close to nature, I've learned from its wonders and now aim to protect ecosystems and promote sustainability. As an alumnus of the Bartlett School of Architecture, I am inspired to work towards revolutionising the construction industry by integrating biology and architecture to bring nature closer to human experiences. 

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL? 

I was introduced to the Hatchery at UCL Innovation and Enterprise during the final months of my course. This eventually led to me being a part of the Hatchery and incorporating my startup. It is a great platform to start your entrepreneurial journey and has, by far, been the best thing I have been involved with while at UCL. 

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL? 

The UCL Hatchery is a lively place filled with knowledgeable, compassionate, and hard-working entrepreneurs who are constantly pushing innovation and practice. These amazing people are true gems who inspire me to do better every day. Whether it’s a good day or bad day, the're always around to support you. 

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  1. Visit the Natural History Museum to see Romanesque architecture.
  2. Watch the sunrise from the Millennium Bridge on a cold winter morning.
  3. Spend your day basking in the summer sun at Kew Gardens. 

What’s one thing you’d like to see in a post-Covid world?

In a post-Covid world, one thing I would truly love to witness is a harmonious integration of the human lifestyle with the natural ecosystem, revitalising our connection with the environment and fostering a sustainable coexistence. 

Who inspires you and why?

Neri Oxman is an inspiring architect leading the field of biodesign and material ecology. Her work pushes the boundaries of computation, fabrication, and material science to augment the built and biological environment. 

What would it surprise people to know about you?

One surprising aspect about me is that I'm an avid chess enthusiast, constantly striving to enhance my skills and understanding of the game. I find great joy and challenge in studying matches and analysing endgames.