London’s Royal Opera House “Opens up”
London’s Royal Opera House has been reinvigorated following a major transformation by a team of over 30 contractors, ourselves included, to enhance the experience for the public, staff and performers alike.
The result is a physical manifestation of cultural change at the Royal Opera House through the realisation of its ‘Open Up’ project. This aims to enliven the opera house throughout the day as a welcoming, multifaceted and inclusive cultural and social hub. For the first time, the Opera House will be open every day from 10am, welcoming visitors to the new café, restaurants, shop and events offered throughout the day.
Constructed over nearly three years, with the venue remaining operational throughout, this complex project balances the desire to attract new audiences for ballet and opera with the need to respect the ROH’s heritage and unique character.
We designed and installed calm and impactful landscaping for both the Winter Garden and the refurbished Amphitheatre Terrace.
With panoramic views over Covent Garden and the City skyline, the newly refurbished terraces have been finished using an elegant, sophisticated and restrained planting pallet that lends itself perfectly to the architectural detailing.
The terrace has been partially enclosed with new sliding glazing and roof lights to form a new glass conservatory usable all year round. State of the art glazing and heating solutions afforded us the opportunity to create an exciting scheme befitting a region with a more exotic climate. Howea’s arch over the top of the bistro sets ensures guests can enjoy their fine dining moment in unprecedented style. The rich and vibrant foliage help lift the entire space and provide a fantastic sense of perspective along its length. As the sun draws in, guests inside the beautiful restaurant can enjoy views of the city through silhouetted palm fronds, a nod to the drama and exuberant nature of the stage performances at the Royal Opera House.
In order to provide intimacy and enhance the atmosphere in this space, we specified a series of multi-stemmed amelanchiers to splay out of the open-air structure and over the top of private seating arrangements. As well as a more quintessentially British feel to it, the planting in this space will evolve throughout the seasons, giving guests something to look forward to at each and every visit.
With Phase 1 of the project now complete, our focus turns to other areas at the Royal Opera House, including the grand, iconic glass facade that once formed the entrance to the original flower market in Covent garden.
Creative Director of Rosebank, Matt Keightley, said: “We feel honoured to have been part of the wide team working together to transform the Royal Opera House. I love the fact that members of the public and performance goers will be able to relax, enjoy and feel inspired by these surroundings for years to come.”
Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard, said: “We are delighted to open the doors to a transformed Royal Opera House. Our brand new entrances, extended foyers and terraces, new café, new bar and restaurant, Linbury Theatre, refurbished Clore Studio as well as extensive programme of daytime events, activities and festivals, make the Royal Opera House London’s newest day time destination. Open every day from 10am, we want as many people as possible to experience our art forms and get a taste of the remarkable creativity at play here.”
About the Royal Opera House Open Up project
The Royal Opera House believes that opera and ballet should be experienced by everyone, and the Open Up project will make the Royal Opera House a daytime destination open to everyone, every day from 10am. The new bars, cafés, restaurants, free events and unique front of house displays will transform these dedicated new spaces, welcoming everyone to their revitalised home.
The brand new Linbury Theatre will become the West End’s newest, most intimate theatre, showcasing the best of the Royal Opera House’s art forms and providing a wealth of innovative world premieres, co-productions and collaborations. The final construction cost is estimated at £50.7m, with all of the funds raised from philanthropy.