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70 St. Mary Axe Reception Integrated Lighting

70 St. Mary Axe Reception Integrated Lighting

Rising high above the noise of the City of London, 70 St. Mary Axe sits proudly as the newest addition to the ever-growing collection of landmark buildings that make up the capital’s iconic skyline.

This 21 storey, 41,515m² development comes from one of the UK’s most notable architectural practices – Foggo Associates – and promises to provide efficient, flexible office spaces to the businesses that are shaping the future of global commerce. Having such a distinctive, striking exterior, Foggo Associates felt certain that the interior of 70 St. Mary Axe needed to be just as impressive.

To achieve this, Foggo Associates designed a reception desk involving a series of tiered, uniformly illuminated lightboxes, all of which would fit seamlessly into the concrete recesses already commissioned for the building’s ground floor. These would also provide a stark visual contrast to the accents of formed concrete which were to define the interior’s aesthetic. 

Given the technical complexity of their designs, Foggo Associates were in search of a supplier with exceptional manufacturing capabilities and specialist knowledge. After hearing of Unibox’s ability to take on seemingly impossible challenges and still successfully deliver stunning results, Foggo Associates asked us to step in and help bring their design to life.

This was no easy task, though, as initial plans included a number of technical specifications around which we would have to work when designing and developing a solution. Firstly, the frame needed to sit perfectly flush with the recess, meaning its depth was limited to no more than 40mm. Secondly, Foggo Associates wanted the lightboxes to function as the surface of the reception desk itself, meaning any materials used would need to be incredibly durable. Lastly, the desk’s face needed to be easily removable to allow for maintenance. 


Upon realising that no off-the-shelf product in existence would be able to incorporate all of the features detailed in our client’s brief, we set about developing a bespoke solution. This comprised of a series of 40mm deep lightboxes, all of which were to operate using specially-designed 4000k 90CRI LEDs and Makralon DXNR diffusers. 

Our team of Product Developers worked to guarantee that the reception desk we supplied would use materials that meet B-S1-D0 standards. Additionally, knowing that the desk’s face needed to be easy to remove and then re-insert, we took advantage of our in-house 3D printing capabilities and produced prototypes of bespoke fixings and clip mechanisms. By ensuring that the diffuser could be held in place under its own weight when suspended upside-down, these made it possible for us to achieve the full surround effect specified in our client’s designs.


To ensure that the diffusers would clip securely into the aluminium profiles, we made some key modifications to our standard production processes. This involved redesigning the shape of the profile channels and then line-bending each individual diffuser so that the two components would hold in position when suspended upside-down.

On top of this, during the development process, we built a full-size mock-up of the proposed solution that demonstrated to the client how the design met the product brief. This enabled Foggo Associates to approve our proposal, confident that it would meet all of their expectations.


At Unibox, our Designers, Project Managers and Product Developers worked closely with Foggo Associates whilst developing and manufacturing the reception desk lightboxes to ensure that the design intent specified in initial visuals was followed from start to finish.

Having teams of specialists, all of whom boast unparalleled levels of industry knowledge and experience, we were able to step in and create a solution that matched our client’s original concept exactly. Undeniably spectacular from every angle, the end result is something that captures the attention of passers-by and brings their focus directly into the building’s interior. 

“We had a long search before finding a company that could create the bespoke lighting envisaged for 70 St Mary Axe. Unibox, with their vast experience using LED lighting and custom metal extrusions, proved to be the perfect partner for the project. Their entire team worked patiently with us, helping to solve innumerable technical and logistical challenges. Unibox were also instrumental in seeing the project through the construction phase and were able to go the extra mile to ensure that every installation detail was properly considered- no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations and we look forward to any opportunity for collaborating with Nick Wraith and his team on future projects.” – Foggo Associates