DOUGLAS – Isle of man
A-Y of Manx
Hardscape helped design and produce artwork paving for Regent Street at the heart of the Isle of Man’s capital, Douglas. The Town and Village Regeneration Scheme breathed fresh life into the Island’s commercial centres and won the landscaping category of the Natural Stone Awards in 2014.
The overall project highlights the legacy of designer Archibald Knox – a Manx designer whose pioneering work bridged the Arts and Crafts Movement, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Modernism. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the designer’s birthday, Liverpool landscape architects’ BCA Landscape, created the ‘A-Y of Manx’, featuring 24 letters and accompanying images deriving from a narrative of fact or folklore, geography or ecology relating to the city.
Installed by the Department of Infrastructure, Isle of Man, the paving brings brightness and light into the heart of the Island’s capital. Hardscape used the latest waterjet cutting techniques to create the illusion of 3D cubes, adding shadow and tone through intricate layers, etched with a delicate sandblasting process.
This method required an immense level of detail to create the individual pictures and letters, some of which were just two millimetres wide. This level of precision helped to bring the pictures to life, and give residents something to feel proud of.
The exemplary design takes full advantage of the sunlight through a variation of granite blends and colours including Kobra, Kobra Green, Classic and Royal White. Violet Pearl also underwent a ‘flaming’ process where intense heat was fired at the stone, causing the surface to become rough, adding texture and slip resistance.
Bespoke Kobra granite seating areas were carefully designed in a raised circular spiral to provide a place for people to sit and admire the scenery, while taking a break from the surrounding hustle and bustle of the city centre.