atelier lachaert dhanis

From over 600 entries, the theater set 'Terra' of artist duo Lachaert and Dhanis was nominated for the World Stage Design Award 2017, the only Belgians selected for this 4-year prestigious global award.

From 1 to 9 July 2017,  the finalist projects were on show at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts - Taipei.


Dance piece Terra, an exploration of the Earth, is a contemporary dance production by Hubert Essakow for the ‘Print Room’. The Print Room at the Coronet is an experimental  platform housed in a Victorian play and opera house in London’s Notting Hill. It has built a reputation by pursuing an eclectic, ambitious artistic policy, which never compromises on quality

Anda Winters, the owner and artistic director commissioned Sofie Lachaert and Luc Dhanis to create an environment for the piece.


“Terra’s symbolism is laden with earth metaphors” - solidity, rootedness, reliability, home - and then asked what happens when those certainties disappear. Migration, exile and refuge provided a thematic framework.

They created a theatrical, ephemeral landscape. It’s highly atmospheric, rich in imagery and suggestion. All looks fragile, liable to crumble at any time. To achieve this feeling of instability, the artists used AluShape molding cloth – by internationally renown Belgian company ShowTex


By hand Lachaert & Dhanis sculpted the malleable strong metal-fabric into a mysterious apocalyptic landscape – an astonishing natural stage-filling backdrop against which the story unfolds.

It seems that the six dancers survived some latter-day Pompeian eruption with everything covered with a layer of dust. They fled with suitcases, for a long journey, to their ultimate destination. Every single detail in the set design / scenography has a deeper meaning, multiple layers. A collection of seemingly mismatched furniture pile up, semi-buried in rubble; chairs in varying states of decrepitude, a wardrobe, a mirror, an old worn pendulum clock, … underlines the idea of memento mori and the fleeting existence of ourselves and our belongings.


Hubert’s choreography was created within the quite literally staggering theatrical environment, which made Terra a truly collaborative process. The dancers interact constantly with the set by moving between and over, by disappearing in or behind the pieces of furniture… Essakow’s expressive detailed choreography entwines with Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri’s spoken text to explore how we humans interact with the earth in our fundamental search for home. French film composer and jazz musician Jean Michel-Bernard created a cinematic score for the piece.


Both halves of the Belgian artist duo, Sofie Lachaert and Luc d’Hanis, graduated at the KASK (Royal

Academy of Fine Arts) + HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) Antwerp.

Their long-standing symbiotic relationship seamlessly interweaves conceptual applied and visual arts, philosophy and craftsmanship. They make artwork that exist outside the conventional, for their works they create an ultimate context for them to inhabit. Their pieces have hidden layers of meaning and interpretation in objects resonated with the surreal undertones of the scenography.

Like in a film set, multiple carefully crafted realities persuaded the audience to take a step inside, to look closer. Informed by their distinctive point of view, atelier lachaert dhanis’ scenographic designs celebrate craftsmanship, while remaining focused on reinterpreting existing ideas and preconceptions.

The duo creates also scenographies and contextual environments for galleries, museums, art fairs…around the world. Recently they worked on a scenography for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Nl).

‘Terra’ (PrintRoom London, 2016) is their first scenographic set design for theatre. The artists did not only design the set; they chose to execute the set themselves, ensuring that their vision and skill are reflected in every detail. It underlines the difference between 'a set designer’ and 'an artist designing a set’.


Press Praises for TERRA:

“Atmospheric and intricately choreographed” The Stage

“Highly atmospheric, rich in imagery and suggestion. Essakow has a gift for crafting physical detail

and for composing movement: it’s a rare quality, and worth seeing in action.” The Guardian

The Sunday Times: Best of What’s On this week

The Guardian Guide: Dance Pick of the week