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Dyson Washroom


Dyson Washroom

Paul McAneary Architects won a competition held by technology company Dyson to devise a design for the washroom of the future. Clean-lined and minimal, employing natural materials, it reflects Paul McAneary Architects’s skill in creating a calm, sensual atmosphere for the daily routines of personal care. Yet it is also ergonomically efficient and ultra hygienic.

The arrangement of fittings means that users do not actually touch them, so eliminating the potential for the transfer of bacteria. Synthesising technology with aesthetics, Dyson’s distinctive Airblade hand dryer is set in a specially designed wooden cabinet characterised by its elegant joinery. Such attention to detail is typical of Paul McAneary Architects’s approach, investing even the smallest project with rigour and refinement. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Client Dyson

Date 2010

Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects

Awards 2010 BD Dyson Airblade Washroom Competition, 2011 Shortlisted Young Architect of the Year

Eco Finity Screen Spa-th


Eco Finity Screen Spa-th

A key aspect of Paul McAneary Architects’s work focuses on design and product development, reconceptualising elements and components from the standpoints of performance, appearance and experience. The design of an apparently simple element such as a bath can contribute enormously to the experience of bathing, stimulating the senses and heightening feelings of pleasure. Water interacts with the body in a particular way and a well-designed bathroom constitutes a tranquil, healthful refuge from the cares of everyday life.

The concept for Paul McAneary Architects’s ‘Eco Finity Screen Spa-th’ is based on sustainable design in terms of water consumption, energy use and recycling. At the same time, it explores a language of ergonomic efficiency and elegant refinement, in keeping with Paul McAneary Architects’s signature aesthetic of sensual, modern minimalism. The aim is to develop a radical new kind of bathtub underscored by sensitivity to function and the quest for pure form, rather than be driven by a predetermined style.

Conceived in response to a design competition staged by German manufacturer Kaldewei, Paul McAneary Architects devised a luxurious infinity bathtub that incorporates an LED display for use as a computer or TV screen. Incorporated within the walls of the tub it can be raised and lowered through an innovative hydraulic system, activated by the tap of a hand. Originally developed by the military, the screen’s TOLED technology is based on frameless, toughened and laminated glass in four sections. Within the layers an integrated, invisible woven metal mesh heats up the screen to prevent condensation on its surface. It also holds the glass in place if it should be damaged.

The elegant, frameless glass screen is divided into four sub-screens that can be combined into a single 360 degree display, offering the potential to watch a film while keeping track of the news or stock market developments. An advanced sound system controlled through integrated WIFI technology is linked to speakers recessed into the bathroom ceiling. The screen can also be used as a light source for illumination to conjure different atmospheres, and its healing qualities can play a role in mental and physical therapy.

Sybaritic delight is tempered with an attention to detail and an ecological reponsiveness. The silky smooth steel enamel surface has a self-cleaning finish. An integrated overflow detail creates a seductive, infinity pool effect, familiar in high-end swimming pools, but here ingeniously reprised and adapted for a domestic context. The overflow is collected in a tank below the bathtub, until it is filtered and recycled in the WC. An integrated water filter pumps and prepares the water for recycling. The tank also acts as a heat reservoir, storing embodied energy, so that the bath maintains an even temperature for longer, with less hot water required to keep it topped up.

Today, bathing extends beyond the basic requirements of hygiene and is elevated into a ritual of comfort and relaxation, infusing body and mind with a feeling of wellness. Through its pioneering and sensual design, the Eco Finity Screen Spa-th takes this to a dynamic new level. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Date 2011

Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects

PMA Box Bed


PMA Box Bed

Developing the idea of furniture as microcosmic architecture, the Paul McAneary Architects box bed resembles a room in miniature. Made from walnut with a white lacquer finish, its hyper-chunky structure dramatically reconceptualises the classic four poster form.

The bed frame is integrated with entertainment technology for an ultra sensuous and sybaritic experience. The idea originally came from a client who wanted a modern version of a four poster bed and this formed the starting point for development by the practice into a truly distinctive piece of contemporary furniture. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Date Ongoing

Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects

Tortoise Enclosure



Tortoise Enclosure

Involving an unorthodox brief to house ten tortoises and a client eager to commission an exemplar of ecologically responsive design, this project synthesises form and materials to create a compact yet highly striking structure. Occupying a garden site in Northern Ireland, it takes the form of a 2.8m high curved stone wall that defines and conceals the tortoise house. Bands of roughly chipped sandstone varying in depth and length powerfully express the thickness and texture of the stone. Drip details are deliberately omitted, so the wall will evolve over time in a natural and beautiful way,

Beyond the wall, the tortoise house is constructed from highly insulated timber walls and a frameless, triple-glazed roof. The refined, frameless glass detail creates the illusion of an enclosure open to the sky, maximising light and warmth. Treated glass prevents overheating. Within the minimal interior, a streamlined kitchen provides a food preparation and bathing area for the tortoises. Underfloor heating is controlled by a thermostat to maintain an optimum temperature all year round.

The walls of the enclosure are clad in cedar slats treated and protected by charring, a technique based on traditional Japanese construction. The cedar is allowed to burn until it is blackened and charred, effectively sealing it without the need for chemical treatments which can damage the environment. Employed for the first time in the UK, the technique results in a long-lasting and visually alluring finish. Elegant bronze detailing protects the cedar and counterpoints the rich tones of the wood.

The combination of rough stone and smooth burnt timber gives the building a distinctive presence that merges with the garden landscape while providing a functional enclosure for its venerable reptilian residents. As tortoises are famous for their longevity, the project is also an apt manifestion of Paul McAneary Architects philosophy of wabi sabi, in which elements are subtly transmuted through age and use. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Nothern Ireland
Client Private
Date 2010 – 2011
Area 8m2
Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design to the end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, structural design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor L. S. Construction
Supplier The Plank Co, Top Glass, Thomas Rooney & Sons Ltd, Rathbanna Limited
Press 2013 BD New Architects 2013, 2010 ‘Masonary Overview’, AJ Specification, November 2010
Awards 2012Surface Design Awards – Highly Commended for Housing Exterior Surface Award

PMA Door Handle

PMA Door Handle

According to Juhani Pallasmaa, the renowned Finnish architect, the door handle is ‘the handshake of a building’. Architecture may be the most physical of the arts but it is one in which the sense of vision is privileged. Architects talk about light, space, shadow, solid and void, but rarely about texture and weight, about how an object feels in the hand or the effects it exerts on the body, its tactile, haptic qualities.

The door handle is one of the smallest architectural elements, yet it can exert the most powerful of impacts. Our sense of touch introduces us to the building. It is the weight, solidity and texture of the handle which guides us across the threshold and communicates our first impression of architecture.

Paul McAneary Architects’s beautifully considered door handles aim to create small moments of hand-held architecture which reveal something about the time in which they were made. But equally, they are also capable of absorbing and celebrating the transformative effects of use and wear.

Like a building, the handle is not a static object but a piece of micro-sculpture which bears the traces and memories of those who have briefly touched it, standing as an exquisite reminder of the exigencies of use. Inseparable from the moment in which it was conceived, layered with and enriched by the patina of age, it remains one of the most potent and intrinsic elements of architecture.

[By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value

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Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects

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PMA Light Screen


PMA Light Screen

Incorporating the dual functions of a room divider and light source, this illuminated screen is an ingeniously flexible, functional element.

Solid steel sections are bolted together to create a sculptural, self-supporting form that can be moved around to demarcate or illuminate space as required.

Incorporated into the steel sections, LED fittings emit planes of light that bathe walls and rooms in a seductively soft glow.

[By Catherine Slessor*]

Date Ongoing

Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects

Suspended shade


Suspended shade

The landscape was an integral element to the overall design and concept for this project.
The full project photography and text is available at Haptic House
An extract of the full text relating to the landscape element of this project, reviewed by Catherine Slessor:

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ‘stepping stone’ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

[By Catherine Slessor*]

Paul McAneary Architects’ Office



Paul McAneary Architects' Office

In 2010 Paul McAneary Architects moved their offices, the short distance from Soho to Covent Garden, to a 17th century printers works. The old stone building is situated in Flitcroft St, near the soon to-be transport hub of London, Tottenham Court Road. The project aimed to reinstate open spaces that had been partitioned during the building’s previous conversion into an office.

To make the basement level functional, it was imperative to increase the height of the room. Paul McAneary Architects used a special cast fibre concrete floor, that could be set to only 70mm thick. A laboratory has been incorporated into the new layout, a space for the architects and designers to experiment with new materials and finishes, gaining first-hand expertise in their rapidly developing field. Architecture models can also be created safely and efficiently using the defined area.

The open plan space is designed for exhibitions and launches, with clean light walls and completely adaptable lighting. 4 light wells, from the street level bring natural light down to the basement, above alcoves that can be adapted for a plethora of uses. A structural glass floor will bring the maximum amount of light possible down, whilst connecting the two areas of office.

Ground Floor

The ground floor facade has been developed to bring the maximum amount of natural light possible. The largest structural glass panels achievable have been inserted within the existing openings in the facade. The heightened visibility, and renovated facade, will regenerate Flitcroft street, ensuring it maintains the vibrance of this central London location for years to come.

A sky light has been introduced into the back of the office, bringing light to the full extent of the plan. It is placed above a design room, directly above a glass box down into the basement level. Connecting all the levels of the project, and providing a shaft for large architectural models to be extracted gracefully through.

Furniture

Paul has designed the desks that will make up the essential part of any office. They exude the minimal elegance of the Paul McAneary Architects office, a simple grey frame with a frosted glass top resting on top. The glass top acts as a light box, ensuring every architect can trace at their desk whilst working simultaneously on their mac. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £100k
Location Westminister, London
Area 238m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Plank Co
Press 2018‘Paul McAneary Architects: how a Japanese facade transformed a London alley;’ OnOffice 21 February

Threshold House



Threshold House

This imaginative conversion of a flat in Maida Vale streamlines a cramped and awkward arrangement of rooms into a series of elegant, rational spaces. The flat occupies the ground and lower ground floor of a Victorian house and had been refurbished without much regard to the quality of the spatial experience or the logistics of circulation.

Entry was by means of a bedroom rather than a hall, so a rolling storage and library unit was specially developed which could either enclose the space for privacy or open it up, giving increased flexibility of use. The clients collect African art, so the remodelled apartment, with its dark walnut floors and white walls, forms a backdrop for an array of vivid paintings and sculptures.

The living area on the ground floor is opened up to the garden with full height sliding glass doors bringing light into the depth of the plan. Within the ground floor, ceiling bulkheads subtly demarcate function, forming a slightly lowered ceiling over the dining area cultivating a sense of intimacy.

The staircase linking the two floors is ingeniously adapted as a wine store. Enclosed by glass panels it employs a network of horizontal tensile wires to support the wine bottles, transforming quotidian objects into a sculptural array. Specially developed construction details respond to the technical challenges involved with a pleasing economy and refinement.

An arched space on the ground floor unifies and rationalises circulation. The geometry of the perfect 90 degree arch confers the modest interior with an almost ceremonial aspect. Another deft sleight of hand is a hidden dressing room secreted within the storage wall of the master bedroom.

Such discreet yet thoughtful moves neatly optimise space and circulation, transforming a hitherto disconnected and experientially dreary London residence into a luminous modern enclave for contemporary living. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £180k
Location Maida Vale, London
Client Private
Date 2017
Area 172.68m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, furniture design
Main Contractor Sterling Build