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Victorian Warehouse Repurposed to Inspire London’s Young Talent at Sugar House Island

Victorian Warehouse Repurposed to Inspire London’s Young Talent at Sugar House Island
1 April 2021 James Brooke

A former Victorian warehouse has been given a new lease of life as Vastint UK welcomes its latest tenants to its vibrant new creative hub at Sugar House Island, ahead of the launch of more than 200 additional homes.

Vastint UK has retained and restored the warehouse, at 3 Sugar House Lane, with architect Waugh Thistleton, as East London Dance and UD are set to move to the building this autumn.

The building, known as The Talent House, is part of Dane’s Yard – Sugar House Island’s creative quarter. The unique fusion of a refurbished Victorian print warehouse and a modern extension will provide state-of-the-art recording facilities and dance studios for London’s, aspiring talent.

With rich architectural history and character, The Talent House spans across three floors and will host a large rehearsal/events space and a tech lab for education and training. The building was a printing ink manufacturer warehouse for over 150 years, up until 2005, and will be transformed with a high-spec, technical fit out to reflect its fresh, new use.

As old meets new, The Talent House connects the existing warehouse with a new, two-storey extension joined by a central glazed atrium to flood natural light inside.

The Talent House is one of three original, historic buildings that have been retained and restored within Dane’s Yard – a collection of eight old and new buildings that provide the creative workspace at Sugar House Island.

Andrew Cobden, MD of Vastint UK, said: “One of the many aspirations for Sugar House Island is to express its industrial heritage in the architecture of the buildings and spaces we create. The repurposing of the old warehouse, fused with a new extension has successfully created a place of learning to inspire young creative minds. It is fitting that East London Dance and UD will work together in this space as catalysts for creativity and collaboration among its membership and the community.

“An important part of the partnership between Vastint UK and The Talent House is for both East London Dance and UD to offer their expertise, facilities and training to independent artists within the community for more than 2,100 hours of free access per year; they are embedded in helping to nurture that collaboration.”

Sugar House Island is a truly-balanced, mixed-use development that has been carefully curated into an area that is characterful and connected to its history and local context. That balance is achieved by bringing together a large community, represented equally by residents and visitors to the offices. When complete, the offices will support over 3,000 visitors with a further 3,000 residents in the1,200 riverside homes.

Such a diverse community will sustain a mix of bars, restaurants, shops and amenities, together with a new primary school which is due to open in September 2021. With the first two phases of the development already completed, Vastint UK will shortly release the next phase of 211 homes and has started construction of 23,942 m2 (257,710 ft2) of workspace.

East London Dance and UD’s new, permanent home at Sugar House Island will enable them to support the next generation of artists, developing their skills and helping to build careers. The Talent House will create opportunities for dance and music artists to connect and become ‘industry ready’.

East London Dance and UD join a host of forward-thinking businesses who have already taken root at Sugar House Island. Global publisher Phaidon was one of the first tenants to move last year, relocating from Kings Cross after 20 years, and School360 will open this September, operated by Big Education Trust of Ofsted-outstanding School 21 in Stratford.

Sugar House Island is just 10 minutes’ walk from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Balancing working, living and leisure to create an integrated neighbourhood, the new development reflects east London’s vibrant, metropolitan culture with a new creative campus at its heart. The area has seen many changes over the last 10 years, and more are coming in the near future, with UCL’s new campus under construction and V&A East, a new museum at Stratford Waterfront, and a new choreography school for Sadler’s Wells all planned as part of the East Bank project.

For further information on Sugar House Island, visit

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Note to editors:
Andrew Cobden, Managing Director of Vastint UK, is available for further comment or interviews.

For further press information, please contact:
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About Vastint UK:
Vastint UK is a real estate organisation that creates large-scale, mixed-use neighbourhoods balancing working, living and leisure spaces.

All developments are designed to complement and add long-term value to local communities.

Established in 2010, Vastint UK has schemes in London (Sugar House Island), Leeds (Aire Park and Cardiff (along the Embankment).

Vastint UK is part of the international real estate organisation, Vastint, which has more than 25 years of experience developing and managing properties and commercial real estate. Vastint is active across Europe including in 14 different countries.

For more information, visit,

About East London Dance:
East London Dance is here to champion and grow the east London dance scene.

Our doors are open to all, from those with a budding passion for movement, to those who go on to lead professional dance companies. 60% of the people we engage with are amongst those least likely to engage in the arts.

We are a catalyst for creativity – for dance artists, producers, and for their careers. We are passionate about connecting creativity to opportunities and creating pathways, particularly where they’re lacking or don’t currently exist. Each year we provide artistic and business investment and support to over 100 local artists and producers. Throughout our history we have launched the careers of many successful artists, choreographers and companies.

We build vibrant creative communities and connect them to the broader cultural sector by collaborating locally, nationally and internationally. Through our participation and training programmes we offer opportunities for people of all ages to get dancing and perform in a raft of styles including hip-hop, contemporary and south east Asian. We embed local creatives as role models within our communities to share valuable life skills and build healthier lives, supporting physical and mental wellbeing. Each year we engage more than 4,200 participants and bring dance to audiences of more than 53,000 people.

We trust in the ambition of others and place the artists and participants we work with at the centre of our decision making. Together we produce boundary-breaking projects and events in unexpected spaces, exploring contemporary themes through dance. It’s how we give light to the issues that matter and drive the social impact we and our communities want to see.

About UD:
UD is a London-based music organisation bringing communities together around Black music and Black music culture. With over 20 years of experience in nurturing and supporting Black and culturally diverse artists when they need it most, UD acts as a bridge between burgeoning talent and the music industry.

At UD, we are passionate about excellence, and the potential for excellence in every young person we encounter. Aligning professionalism and business acumen with an understanding of youth and subculture, we run industry-led events, artist development and employment support programmes. Those that have come through our doors can now be found working at institutions including Island Records, Nike, Rinse FM, GRM Daily, Beats and SBTV. Artists we have helped and showcased at early stages of their career include Wretch32, Little Simz, Ghetts, Andreya Triana, Maverick Sabre, Devlin, Labrinth, Skepta and Paigey Cakey.

Since 2000, when UD was co-founded by a group of hip-hop artists, we have understood that young people need the resources and space to create and explore their potential; UD works for a world where young people who make and love Black Music, are recognised as equal to any excellent creative individuals, and are celebrated and supported as such. Whether they’re on their first steps into music, just breaking into notoriously competitive creative environments, or about to make it big, we provide the tools they need: Excellence, confidence, structure, opportunity and networks.

United in development, UD stands for you.