Royal College of Art

London, United Kingdom

The Royal College of Art was founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design. Granted a Royal Charter and university status in 1967, today the RCA remains the world's most influential postgraduate institution of art and design. The RCA's new Battersea campus is the manifestation of a bold vision that unites art and design with science, technology, mathematics and medicine, providing an academic home to a diverse range of students – from computer scientists, robotics engineers and product designers to writers, curators and sculptors.

Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, the campus adds 15,500 m2 to the footprint of the university, delivering enhanced workshop and studio infrastructure for students and offering social and educational spaces as a meeting point for talent and ideas.
Herzog & de Meuron
Interior architecture
RCA estate team, Intrinsic and LTS Architects
Eduardo Perez
With all the different disciplines to be housed in the new Battersea building, finding a product that could meet the assorted workplace, storage and other micro-architectural requirements proved to be a major challenge for the RCA, particularly as it also needed to be easy to move and stow away to make room for larger events.
The RCA found a solution to these requirements with Vitra's Comma office system and equipped the 2nd and 3rd floors using a combination of workstations – in standing and sitting heights, with and without castors – and storage elements. To achieve maximum flexibility and interchangeability, the units are configured in the same dimensions with identical diagonal and cross beams. For the visual and acoustic separation of different areas, the RCA relies on acoustic polyester fleece panels and whiteboards integrated in Comma. In addition, Dancing Walls and the Tip Ton chair developed by RCA alumni Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby were also selected to furnish the interior spaces.
"The RCA are champions of good design, and Vitra’s Comma system is a perfect example of why design matters. Its flexibility is an ideal fit for our Battersea design and innovation campus, which is intended to be a flexible space capable of teaching, performance or exhibition display. It is practical, durable and simple to make changes to, as well as a stunning piece of functional design - I'm sure it will inspire our students, as well as brilliantly support their learning environment."
Paul Thompson, the RCA’s Vice-Chancellor
Product overview

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