The Academician’s Room — London, UK
Tucked away behind London’s chaotic Piccadilly stretch, The Academician’s Room has quietly reopened after a two-month renovation by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS). Located on the first floor of The Keeper’s House, itself located in the eastern wing of Burlington House, the room was originally designed by Norman Shaw in 1883 for the Royal Academy’s architectural hanging gallery. The spruce-up now invests the Royal Academicians with a charming private members club that, despite the restrictions imposed by the room’s heritage listing, MBDS has been able to add a light modern gloss without losing any historical cache. The cause was helped immeasurably by the uncovering of the original timber panels (still pockmarked with nail holes from generations of exhibition hangs) and Portland stone margin. Equally, the mood has been smartened up with chandeliers, a darker stained timber floor, and an eclectic mix of vintage furniture such as 1960s library chairs with fringe detailing, high-backed 1950’s Paola Buffa chairs in original yellow velvet fabric, and a pair of 19th-century gilt wood appliqués that have been converted to lamps. On the walls now hang a rotating exhibition of lively artwork by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Tony Bevan and John Wragg. Sadly, entry into the Academicians’ Room is by invitation only so our tip is to start making friends with a member tout de suite.