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Interview with Xi Zhang, Founder and CEO at Superlab Suisse

How did the idea of Superlab Suisse come about?

My architecture and construction company has built many R&D buildings and different types of labs for pharma giants. I tried to figure out why only pharma giants hired us for exclusive design – where were the small and medium-sized companies? Then, I realised that big changes were happening in the life sciences, and I saw an opportunity for us.


Why Biopôle for your first location?

Biopôle is a world-leading life sciences cluster, as everyone knows. And it has one of the biggest talent pools in Switzerland, with more spin-offs, more new companies and more opportunities.


Superlab Suisse collaborates with the life sciences incubator StartLab, based at Biopôle. How can companies benefit from this collaboration?

StartLab offers an open space, starting with 1 bench, while Superlab Suisse offers private labs with 4 to 12 or more benches, offering privacy and fostering company culture. The two are complementary and share resources like equipment and services, and this co-existence offers more choice for companies as well as flexibility when it comes to company growth. At both StartLab and Superlab Suisse, we serve the same science community, where brilliant people from all over the world devote themselves to serving humanity.


You are an architect launching a new initiative in the life sciences. How does that feel?

I want to serve and support scientists with workspace solutions, and I want to see more companies benefit from our efforts on lab innovation, not only the giant ones.

Architecture is a methodology for creating ideas and realising them. Because our education systems divide subjects up, we’ve been led to think inside our own fields and care less about what others need or what could be a better solution for society. It’s obvious that start-ups or even bigger companies need a holistic, flexible solution so that they can focus their energy, time and investment on science instead of construction or daily operations. And we are able to deliver this.

I’m very grateful that the board and CEO of Biopôle understood immediately what I was working towards and gave me this chance and their full support to make my idea a reality.

Of course, I’m learning from scientists every day – they are incredible. And I’m really enthusiastic about finding solutions to support these amazing people and meet their needs.


Is the Biopôle location of Superlab Suisse the first of many?

Biopôle is our flagship location. From 2022, we will expand our footprint to Zurich and then other European cities.