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the royal academy of arts
place:london, united kingdom
project:david chipperfield architects
buyer:the royal academy
technical sales consultant:jonathan morrish
the royal academy of arts was founded in 1768 and it is the oldest academy of fine arts in the great britain. the extension and renovation project was completed in 2018, in the year of its 250th anniversary. in 1998, the institute purchased a building of italian inspiration from the eighteenhundreds: the academy’s senate room in burlington gardens, which has undergone several changes in recent years. for example, the new 250-seat auditorium, with a semicircular structure, has been designed on the model of the classical amphitheatre or of the anatomical theatre. the entrance is located at the top and is illuminated with large, fully restored skylights. the academic senate room is now the new restaurant, while one of the smaller committee rooms is now an architecture gallery. the spaces of the ancient laboratory have been realigned and are intended for contemporary exhibitions, developing a sequence of spaces lit by natural light. in place of the old bookcase, the large hall of the west wing of the building houses the gallery of the collections with the tondo taddei by michelangelo. the intervention of redesign includes the british academy room in the new exposed concrete building, facing the beautiful sculpture garden. david chipperfield architects studio in london, in charge of the restoration project, designed the accademi pendant lamp in anodized aluminium and handmade murano glass. the circular plates of two different diameters, 85 and 120 cm, are sandblasted inside, but left unfinished on the outside: they remind to those who contemplate them the ancient glasses worked by the master glassmakers of the venetian lagoon. the veiled glass rests gently, without any joints, to an aluminium ring in brass aps finish, 9 cm high, suspended by steel cables from the white stuccoed ceiling of the auditorium and the museum’s double entrance loggia. the amount of light emitted was calculated by the arup engineering firm, in order to provide the lamps with dual lighting, downwards and upwards. the chandelier accademi, whose name pays homage to the historic museum, with warm tones of the empire-style café, enlightens those who stay there, perhaps for a cup of tea. to connect the two pre-existing areas of the museum, david chipperfield designs a suspended volume in pale concrete at sight. a series of recessed holes in the ceiling lights up the staircase and the corridor. the oldest wing of the museum houses the collection of sacred sculptures, made of wood and stone. spotlights n55 binario argento hacca, positioned at the top of the cross vaults in light bricks illuminate it with a precise and punctual beam: there are no double shadows and the light dialogues with the architecture in a sober, elegant and effective manner. the n55 allows maximum flexibility and optimum maintenance. thanks to a dynamic engine on which it is possible to install different types of electronic sources and different bulbs: classic, decorative or, as for the ancient wing of the museum, technical bulbs.

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