Architecture, Art and a Modern Office

Deirdre Dyson designs and produces luxury carpets for an 18th century listed Georgian townhouse in Mayfair, London.

How were you commissioned?:    
As part of the refurbishment, all the flooring needed to be replaced. The new office needed be very comfortable, so what better way to do this than through luxurious carpeting - Deirdre Dyson designs and produces luxury carpets for contract spaces (as well as residential) so there was a natural fit! To complete a stylish interior, art for the floors was a key part of the design scheme (Deirdre is a fine artist who personally designs all carpets.)

What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?:     
The architect's brief (Alexander Martin Architects) was to repurpose an 18th century listed Georgian townhouse for use as a private family office in Mayfair, London - creating a headquarters that could accommodate large meetings and events, whilst simultaneously providing private offices and team working spaces. The interpretation of the brief and development of the interior design and furnishings evolved through 1-to-1 meetings, calls and via email. The client was decisive which made this process efficient.

How did the brief affect the materials and design choices?:     
Materials were selected for their timeless quality, echoing those present in the original building. A palette of natural oak, stone and plastered walls provides a backdrop for the Deirdre Dyson carpets. Through her use of bold geometric designs, Lady Dyson developed the scheme to bring contrast and complimentary accent colours to define and enhance the individual rooms. Fourteen of Deirdre Dyson’s contemporary designs, some hand knotted, free-standing room size carpets and others tufted and fitted were specially commissioned, totalling 350 square metres of high quality wool and silk carpeting. Carpets also help with the acoustics, countering the effect of the hard surfaces in the building.

How did your previous experience help you with this project?:     
We have previously provided many carpets for contract or commercial purposes. We recently produced carpets that were over 6 metres x 6 metres for a private office, so we are very used to producing large scale designs.

Can you explain the layout of the project:     
The programmatic elements form a hierarchical arrangement over the six storeys, with the principal meeting, boardroom and ancillary service spaces located at lower ground floor level, main reception and meeting rooms on the ground floor; private offices and workspaces on the upper floors. A new glazed courtyard was inserted into the lower ground floor, where the floor plan spans across two buildings, providing a backdrop for the boardroom and breakout lounges. A landscaped garden at the rear provides a space for quiet reflection, while the copper clad garden room introduces a modern addition to enjoy the garden in a more intimate setting. This connects to the principal rooms on the lower ground floor by a floating stone and bronze stair within the rear courtyard.

What problems or challenges did you face?:     
In terms of the flooring, creating a carpet for the central staircase was quite a challenge, given that it spans six levels. Deirdre Dyson's solution was to design a runner which hugs the staircase from top to bottom - it is tonally graded to continually flow from dark to light, creating interest and a sense of movement. Deirdre managed to create a scheme that was unified, whilst giving individuality to each room through bespoke carpet designs. A core challenge for the architects was to adapt the demands of a modern office within six relatively small floor plates yet ensure that the historical character of the building was restored and celebrated.

What do you feel were the most unusual design elements of the project?:     
It is rare to find an office space which is so tranquil and comfortable a space to work. This is at least in part thanks to the furnishings and sumptuous floorings which make it both plush and hard-wearing. The team that works here say that it is a very calm space and a delight to work in.

How do you think this project is pushing design forward? What makes it special?:     
This 18th century listed Georgian townhouse has been expertly repurposed into a modern office - respecting the historical charm of the building, but thoroughly innovating it to suit its new purpose.

Plaster mouldings - Locker & Riley and Hayles & Howe. Howard Brothers - fitted joinery and doors including bespoke AV and storage units in the conference rooms; designed by Alexander Martin Architects. Chairs to conference / meeting rooms generally are the Eames Soft Pad chair EA208. Hanging ceiling lights were the Dyson Cu-Beam. Task lights are the Dyson CSYS. Both by Jake Dyson. Bespoke conference table by Arco. Other meeting room table by Arco - Spazio Elipse. Vitra Eames EA208 chairs. Citterio Groundpiece sofa by Flexform & Barcelona chairs by Knoll. Vito coffee table by Flexform. LC3 Corbusier Grand Confort Sofa and chairs. 194/9 Lissoni coffee tables. Garden room - Eames Lounge Chairs & 194/9 Lissoni coffee tables. Multipli CEO desk by Fantoni & Eames lobby chair ES104. Eames chairs EA216 with Saarinen coffee table in Arabescato. Meeting Table B - stone. Designed by Konstantin Grcic for BD Barcelona Design Multipli CEO desk by Fantoni with Chancellor President desk chair Eames 208 soft pad chairs with Saarinen table (Knoll) in Arabescato with black base. Other office spaces generally Vitra Workit desks or Vitra Tyde Workstations; chairs are generally Herman Miller Mirra chairs.

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