Design at Studio Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor is the stunning concrete, wood and glass realisation of visionary choreographer and director, Wayne McGregor’s desire to nullify boundaries between art forms, creative disciplines, technology-led ventures, and material-based projects.

By Studio Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

And the fulfilment of his wish for a creation-friendly home for both his world-class, eponymous dance company and the Studio’s in-house teams, who collectively devise, produce and enact a huge array of performances and events, education and outreach initiatives, and countless further intrigue-piquing projects in collaboration with their prodigious interdisciplinary network.

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

"No walls, no restrictions, no rules – simply free. We wanted to create a making space that engendered these ideals" —Wayne McGregor           

This “crucible of collaboration across disciplines and scale” is situated within the innovation-primed Here East campus, which was forged of London’s 2012 Olympic’s cavernous Broadcast and Press Centres. This canal-side zone plays host to a variety of disruptive start-ups, entrepreneurial outfits, established businesses and institutions, including: Plexal, BTSports, UCL’s Bartlett School, Loughborough University, and MatchesFashion.      

"We are ambitious for dance and adventurous for its wider application. The space we have chosen for our new home, within Here East with its unique and diverse maker ecology, makes manifest this aspiration."—Wayne McGregor      

Woolf Works (2015-05-11) by Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Minimal yet playful, Studio Wayne McGregor was designed and realised by We Not I, a progressive and enigmatic architectural practice, who actively defy the notion that any building is the work of a solitary human. The enterprising architecture firm had previously collaborated with McGregor on the set design for his outstanding, Olivier-award-winning production, Woolf Works (The Royal Ballet, 2015). 

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

There was no brief for the studio project, simply a quote, a proposition, from ‘The Empty Space’ by Peter Brook “A stage space has two rules: (1) Anything can happen and (2) Something must happen.”   

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Followed by an ongoing dialogue as they collaborated closely to create, as We Not I explain, a space: “… that isn't fully comprehendible as a singular entity. We were interested in effectively contriving different vessels, which are slightly self-contained and juxtaposed, rather than there being a rigid, ordaining geometry … you’d have a sense that the architecture was doing something to you – [that] it gave you a prompt, but it left everything open as well.”      

In McGregor’s words, they were fundamentally seeking to explore “how choreographic thinking translates into spaces – into this space.”       

Living Archive: An AI Performance Experiment (2019-07-12) by Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

“It is clear that dance, choreographic processes and creativity have a part to play in the fast-changing landscape we find ourselves in, where thinking through and with our bodies – in a broad range of contexts challenges and re-calibrates what the art-form can really achieve and invent into the future.”—Wayne McGregor     

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Faithful to this principle, Studio Wayne McGregor is conceived as a series of experiences for the body to come to terms with, for as We Not I share “it doesn't really exist without the bodies in it … it’s a repeatedly rehearsed, performed, reconfigured space – a continuous project, altered daily”.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Thus the entire dynamic structure and vessels and objects therein, serve as a material rendering of choreographic thinking – embodied creativity as transmuted into surface and texture in a multi-level environment imbued with palpable latent energies that duly inspires and guides the people that encounter it.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Due to the gigantic scale of the extant hangar, We Not I designed a freestanding architectural structure as an outer ‘shell’ that was to house three state-of-the-art dance studios – including two of London’s largest; several versatile areas for contemplating, collaborating and making, and a gym and kitchen area.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

On entering Studio Wayne McGregor, the eye is instantly drawn to the sculptural Open Space Tower... 

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

...while its pale wood, central staircase invites exploration. 

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Having mounted the steps to reach the core of this striking construction, judicious placement of glass in the form of a mezzanine balcony and mirrored surface toy with perspective as cut-out skylights welcome natural light.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

As for the three studios themselves, each temperature-modulated, pristine white room contains a sprung-floor, powerful sound system and high speed data and WiFi connections.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Nearby, the Tower meeting room boasts a striking bespoke floor bearing a lively geometric design that was reproduced in 3-D from a 2-D from ‘Camino Royale’ sketch of the Mexican desert by acclaimed textural artist and print-maker, Anni Albers, once of the Bauhaus School.   

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

“Why have art on the walls when you can actually make the floor, the piece?”—We Not I  

Borderlands by Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation have actually been avid supporters of McGregor since he and his creative partners immersed themselves in their American archives when seeking inspiration for a San Francisco Ballet piece, entitled Borderlands.

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

For the Studio, We Not I and McGregor also reinterpreted a selection of beautiful drawings by Josef Albers as 3-D glass objects called ‘Structural Constellations’.    

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

As for the multiple additional eye-catching artworks that one will find upon Studio Wayne McGregor’s surfaces, they are testament to his decades of on and off-stage collaboration with exceptional artists – many of whom are represented by the eminent Lisson Gallery, who in turn loaned these pieces out. One such work is ‘Lightwork xxv’ by kinetic sculptural and installation artist, Haroon Mirza, with whom McGregor conceived Alea Sands for the Paris Opera Ballet.      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Tatsuo Miyajima, a prominent Japanese installation artist and sculptor who created the set design and produced video for McGregor’s 2009 The Royal Ballet piece Limen, is best known for working with technological materials such as LED counters. And three of his works have been displayed at Studio Wayne McGregor.     

Multiverse (2016-11-10) by Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

A further notable piece is by visual artist, Rashid Rana, who utilises sculpture, video and photography to shatter then reconfigure our visual universe. Fittingly, he collaborated with McGregor on the set for Multiverse (The Royal Ballet, 2016).      

Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

Naturally, Studio Wayne McGregor wouldn’t have been feasible without the kind support of its backers, including the Quercus Trust and Arts Council England. ‘Atlas’, a permanent installation, designed by We Not I, pays homage to each and every generous supporter.      

FreeSpaceStudio Wayne McGregor

In addition to serving as Studio and Company Wayne McGregor’s headquarters, the space plays a crucial role in assisting developing artists and community groups through its invaluable FreeSpace programme. In a basic exchange, rehearsal and making space is donated for free to amateur and professional applicants of wide-ranging skill levels, who in turn spend some of their time on creative educational and outreach projects.      

QuestLab Network by Studio Wayne McGregorStudio Wayne McGregor

At Studio Wayne McGregor, we share the belief that the arts are a nexus for intersections of knowledge, where collaboration in its truest sense finds root – where we are open to the unfamiliar, where connectedness reaps untold rewards, and where empathy drives our shared experience.”—Wayne McGregor.      

Credits: Story

'Design' text written by Suze Olbrich.  

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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