The Dyson dynasty has brought advanced engineering and rigorous rugs to its new Mayfair office
The Dysons sweep into Mayfair
A modest Georgian property, in a terrace of similar structures in London’s Mayfair, conceals much behind its elegant brick facade. For this is the private office of the Dyson family, Britain’s most successful modern industrial dynasty. Intended as the nerve centre for all family business, it combines domestic scale interiors with sleek modernist finishes, contemporary craft skills and the latest in industrial design.
Sir James Dyson oversees a multi-billion pound business empire, with a vast R&D centre (designed by Wilkinson Eyre) in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and around 4,500 UK employees, mostly engineers. Manufacturing is taken care of by 5,000 more in factories in Asia. Dyson designs and manufactures vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, fans and lighting, and a much-vaunted foray into personal mobility is currently taking shape. The business has always involved the rest of his family, all of whom have their own creative concerns. This includes his wife, Lady Deirdre Dyson, an acclaimed artist and carpet designer, and their son Jake, who is the company’s R&D director and chief lighting engineer.
The creation of the new office, which actually encompasses two adjoining houses, was partly driven by Deirdre. ‘Dyson is very much a family business. We needed a central meeting place for the family, and also somewhere for international meetings to save people heading down to Malmesbury,’ she says. Working with the London-based studio of architect Alexander Martin, she has completed 14 brand new unique carpet designs for the space, liaising closely»
‘I tried to make the carpets tie in to the interior palette and link a little bit of the colour’
with Martin’s design team to ensure each individual carpet picks up on colours and details in the architecture, as well as creating related groups of designs on each individual floor.
For the architects, the main challenge was balancing the old and the new without giving either a dominant role. ‘It was a tricky planning process,’ admits Martin. The house had been subdivided and ‘messed around with’; many original details were missing or had been damaged during the years it was partitioned into various offices. Some elements had to be completely rebuilt, such as the staircase; Martin created a precise reproduction (complete with turned-oak balusters and set forward in the hallway so as to conceal a new lift behind it) that services all floors. The top two floors are given over to office space, with lowered ceilings and modern, rather than classical, detailing. The staircase culminates beneath a vast glass rooflight, with a smaller staircase leading up to the neatly concealed roof terrace and its bird’s-eye view of hitherto unseen Mayfair, a landscape of aerials and chimneys.
The main boardroom is located in the expansive lower ground floor, which runs beneath the adjoining house and opens up to a small courtyard, with a precisely engineered steel and concrete staircase leading up to the terrace above. ‘We always try to get in as much contemporary stuff as possible,’ says Martin, pointing out the bespoke cabinets for ventilation, AV and drinks storage that occupy each boardroom space. These were made by joinery specialist Howard Bros and helpfully avoid the need for disrupting the proportions or mouldings in the walls and ceilings.
The other dominant feature is those bespoke carpets. ‘It gives a domestic touch, as well as some luxury,’ says Deirdre, who has worked her magic on every room, using a combination of tufted carpets made in the UK, and loom-woven rugs made in traditional workshops in Nepal. ‘I tried to make them tie in to Alexander’s interior palette,’ she says, ‘and link a little bit of the colour.’ This task was made all the more difficult as she had to design the floor coverings without sight of the finished rooms. Uniting the entire structure is a bespoke stair runner, with a subtle graded coloration that flows from dark to light. Graded hues also define the freestanding and fitted coverings, which use both wool and silk, with»
left and opposite, Deirdre Dyson created 14 unique carpet Designs for Dyson’s london office, including Those for The family office (where cyclone Motifs feature on The fireplace), reception area and Main BoardroomBelow, a precisely engineered Steel and concrete Staircase leads from a Small courtyard To a Terrace above
above left, dyson’s ‘cu beam’ hanging light in the main boardroom above right, the terrace wall outside the garden room is clad in wood and copper slats, which is reflected in the room’s new copper-striped rug