News: Laban opens its new building

Monday 17 February 2003

Laban, South-East London’s newest venue,
Laban, the new centre for contemporary dance was officially opened by Tessa Jowell, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, on Wednesday 5 February. There were long queues for the first open day on Saturday.
A full report on the building to follow soon…

Laban is one of Europe’s leading institutions for dance artist training. Laban’s new building has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the renowned Swiss architects behind Tate modern, and is the world’s largest building for contemporary dance. At Laban a range of activities are open to everyone including children’s and adults dance classes; a programme of dance, physical theatre and music performances; Pilates sessions; massage from Laban’s in-house osteopath, physiotherapist and remedial masseur; plus the Laban café is open every week day.

Laban will launch a new theatre programme on 17 February marked by a week of special double-bill performances from the UK’s leading contemporary dance artists, including Akram Khan, Rosemary Butcher, Wendy Houstoun and Charles Lineham Company. Further information and tickets are available from the Laban Box Office on 020 8469 9500.

Judith Mackrell gives her view on the new building, “the newly built centre makes you gasp with pleasure. The glow from its walls is serene and thrilling and you feel drawn towards this building by the expectation of something wonderful happening inside.”
Guardian, 6 Feb.03
Jonathan Romney “Down in the oozy depths of Deptford Creek in the London borough of Lewisham is a brand new building that all but dances…”
Guardian, 27 Jan.03

Debra Craine describes the visual impact of the new building, “Against this landscape of bleak neglect the Laban building shimmers like a rainbow”
Times, 7 Feb.03
Marcus Bunney explains the effect the new Laban building has had,
“The locals like the result so much they have christened it the rainbow building… Architects in general are so impressed by this luminous new landmark on a two-acre site that a flood of planning applications for buildings using the same transparent cladding is on the way.”
Times, 6 Feb.03

Jay Merrick voices his opinion, “It brings a new flavour to the locale, something subtle and yet decisive. It stands like a beautifully chiselled slab of multi-coloured sorbet, apparently self-effacing, yet radiating certainty….This is a building with a gentle and playful soul.”
Independent, 6 Feb.03

Giles Worsley calls it “the sort of building that forces a smile”. Read more in
Telegraph, Feb. 03

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