Black powder coated showcase solution, designed in collaboration with Tom Dixon

A destination for artists and the general public, set in the very heart of London, for nearly 250 years the Royal Academy has been the place to make, exhibit and debate art.

However, as a private organisation with no public funding, friend and trustee Stephen Fry once said of the Academy: “Where friends go is a bit like a 1970s polytechnic staff room. They can sit down and have a cup of coffee but we think they deserve so much more."

Determined to improve the facilities for existing friends, a refurbishment plan was started to create a club-like atmosphere in the centre of the capital.


Resolved to reflect the long and illustrious history of the Academy in the new restaurant, inspiration for the refurbishment was drawn from its former academics. While respecting the existing architecture, the design injected a strong sense of contemporary operational elements, and a new level of comfort.

The design also demanded high-quality finishes including velvet, brass, marble, lava stone, and soft lighting; with rich, warm colour tones and juxtaposing textures to create a luxuriant and welcoming ambience.

Playing a key role in the design, Unibox's contemporary cubic glass unit was to house an extraordinary selection from the Royal Academy's permanent collection of sculptures, while also acting as a room divider.


Designed in collaboration with Tom Dixon, we customised our standard Portobello range of showcases, cabinets, and counters to meet the particular needs of the client.  

Using a 32mm aluminium profile that was tailored and installed into the Academy, the display introduced a black powder coated finish and industrial-themed accessories which worked in harmony with the restaurant. 

Helping Tom Dixon and his team turn their unique concept into a reality, the Unibox solution included, collaborative design, bespoke aluminium extrusions, laser-cutting, technical design.


Developed in collaboration with Tom Dixon, we created an elegant and minimalist display cabinet solution that helped to extend the gallery experience for diners.

Despite a tight purse and a short deadline, Unibox supplied a mixture of creative thinking and manufacturing dexterity that helped Tom Dixon and the client to house, display and protect its priceless sculptures, in record time and bang on budget.

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You might be surprised at how many problems we can solve to bring your creative vision to life.

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