to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the royal academy of arts, london, the RA cafe in the grade II listed burlington house has been reimagined by LOT and transit studio. this architectural and interior design collaboration has resulted in a lighter and brighter space inside the royal academy, as well as a new outdoor bar for use in the summer months. it will be occupied by restauranteur oliver peyton, a judge on the BBC’s great british menu TV series.

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the RA murals inspired the color palette of the cafe



the new café is inspired by the surrounding murals, particularly the bright colors of ‘upstairs and downstairs’ by leonard rosoman royal academician. it has been created it as a warm and welcoming space that has its own identity but feels part of the gallery and art school it sits within.

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the bar



the main space has been opened up to provide better access to a range of service areas and eliminate the queuing issues that plague popular cultural venues. LOT and transit studio have selected a variety of rich and playful materials to use across the space to define an informal setting that will delight the academy visitors while they take a break from the busy galleries. bespoke communal dining tables and ledges create a unified design language across the café and inspire interactions between guests, while a ten-seat table in the lobby – comprised of terrazzo and marble with a circular pattern – can be used for large groups or solo diners.

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the new cafe space is light and informal



individual island counters have been used to suggest an indoor market, with canopies overhead and integrated illuminated signage, helping with clear wayfinding. the new café is respectful of the heritage of burlington house and so the original mahogany parquet floor has been revived. the lighting has been greatly improved, including LEDs in ceiling coffers, minimal globe lights hanging from the ceiling, up lights highlighting window details and small colorful table lamps dotted around the café.

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
serving areas create a marketplace experience



in the royal academy’s annenberg courtyard, a vibrant and playful mix of bright colors and materials appropriate for the summer have been used. a new cafe kiosk is clad in blue mirror stainless steel and reflects the historic surroundings as well as the ever-changing central sculpture. a large white canopy above acts as protection from the weather and draws attention to the café for visitors new to the gallery, acting as its own signage. splatter enamel table tops, together with pedrali’s ‘nolita’ chairs, reference the activity that takes place within the RA schools.

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
bespoke terrazzo and marble table in cafe lobby

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the new outdoor cafe in the RA courtyard

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the new outdoor bar is blue mirrored stainless steel

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
the outdoor cafe is complemented by pedrali’s nolita chair

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
bespoke terrazzo and marble table in cafe lobby

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
colors and light are used to accentuate the space

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom

LOT and transit studio RA cafe designboom
splatter enamel table tops reference the activity that takes place within the RA schools



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news