Client: Isle of Man Government (Douglas Development Partnership)
Architect: BCA Landscape, Liverpool
Contractor: Department of Infrastructure, IOM

A-Y of Manx

Employing precision techniques and careful material selection, Hardscape assisted in the design and production of innovative paving artwork for Regent Street, in the centre of Douglas. The Isle of Man Town and Village Regeneration Scheme was implemented to infuse a new energy into the island’s commercial districts.  

Hardscape worked with landscape architects, BCA Landscape, to develop an engaging paving solution for the bustling thoroughfare of Regent Street. The concept was inspired by the legacy of Archibald Knox, a Manx designer whose pioneering career straddled the Arts and Crafts Movement, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau and Modernist disciplines.  

Opportunity Knox

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his birth, BCA Landscape devised paving artwork to illustrate the 24 letters of the Manx alphabet. This ‘A-Y of Manx’ builds on narrative themes from fact and folklore to create an intriguing representation of the Isle of Man today. 

Installed by the Department of Infrastructure, the new paving enlivens the island’s capital. To realise the landscape architect’s vision, Hardscape, in collaboration with Scribble Stone, used the latest waterjet cutting techniques to produce the illusion of three-dimensional granite cubes. Shadow and tone were added through intricate layers and etched in a delicate sandblasting process. The creation of the individual pictures and letters, some of which are just 2mm wide, demanded extreme technical precision. 

Materials used

Hardscape also recommended a selection of materials to enhance the busy streetscape. A combination of granite blends in Kobra, Kobra Green, Classic, Crystal Black, Midnight Black and Royal White, the natural stone materials take full advantage of sunlight, while bespoke Kobra granite seating areas offer the perfect vantage point to take it all in. 


The scheme was extremely successful, and Douglas was honoured with first place in the landscaping category at the 2014 Natural Stone Awards.