Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Trinity Laban is one of Europe’s leading institutions for dance artist training. It is based in the spectacular RIBA-award winning Laban building at Deptford Creekside in London and is both dramatic and colourful, thanks to an exciting collaboration between award winning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and internationally acclaimed artist Michael Craig-Martin. Within this vibrant, purpose-built, state of the art building, dancers can be rest assured that their rehearsal work in the studio and their performances in the theatre will all take place using the same tried and tested Harlequin dance floors they will experience in studios and on dance stages worldwide.

The Requirement
Before moving from their previous facility at New Cross, London, Trinity Laban already enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Harlequin Floors. But for the newest facility they wanted sprung floors in all the main dance studios and to be sure that they made the right decision conducted a practical evaluation. Before the final specification for the sprung floors was confirmed, three dancers flew from Trinity Laban to Natwick, Boston to test out a similar floor for themselves, at an installation at Boston Ballet completed by American Harlequin Corporation. Their verdict was the final seal of approval for the selection of Harlequin’s Liberty® floor to create 13 purpose built world class dance studios.

The Solution
Before the Harlequin Liberty® panel system was approved, testing was conducted in conjunction with Wirsbo, manufacturers of the under-floor heating system, where water pipes are buried in the screed, to ensure that sufficient heat passed through the floor without detriment to the floor and vinyl surface and that a specified heat value was achieved at the floor surface.

Harlequin Floors’ Contracts Division worked closely with the main contractors to supply and install the floors, comprising:

• 1,762m² of Harlequin Liberty® sprung floor panels and Harlequin Studio vinyl floors in all 13 main dance studios and the Dance Movement Therapy clinic
• Matching colour vinyl skirting fitted in all the main studios
• 138m² of un-sprung maple floor installed in the Pilates studio
• 200m² of sprung maple floor for the stage of the 300 seat Laban Theatre
• 66m² of un-sprung maple floor in the wings of the Laban Theatre
• 536m² of a specifically constructed plywood floor in the Laban Library and Archive, based on a stepped and ramped up sub floor resting on 50mm blocks and designed to permit forced ventilation under the entire floor area
• Rectangles of Harlequin Cascade vinyl for the pianos to stand on in all studios.

The Results 10 Years on…
Recently Harlequin Floors returned to the Trinity Laban to talk to Principal Anthony Bowne and Director of Dance Mirella Bartrip, to check out how the Harlequin floors had performed over 10 years since they were installed in the then new building.

Mirella Bartrip explained, “It was very, very important for us in this new building to have the very best floors. Harlequin was the name out there. That was our first choice…it is extremely important the floors are of the best quality. First of all they need to have the right degree of spring in them and that is something Harlequin are experts at. Secondly, the actual surface has to be one that isn’t slippery or too sticky. So that’s Harlequin for us.”

Mirella sums up, “They have worn excellently, the quality is really fantastic and they clean very well. Our floors have been used not just by our students, but by external users, dance companies and the floors have been absolutely terrific for all of that time.”

Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal, says in the interview, “When I hear the word Harlequin I think two things. Of course, I think dance floors, but I also think a committed partner. We have been very lucky to work with Harlequin over the years. We wanted the best dance floors. We demanded the best dance floors and Harlequin have supplied them and been a very good organisation to work with throughout that time.”