William Knight: My Design DNA

BY Harpers Bazaar Arabia / Jul 4 2017 / 18:38 PM

William Knight recently moved from London to Dubai to become Managing Director and Head of Design at Art Dubai Group. He talks about diversity, punchy style and why the design world needs more women.

 William Knight: My Design DNA
William Knight
 William Knight: My Design DNA
Qwstion: ‘Sitting in a sweet spot between luxury and practicality, my Qwstion bag is an everyday essential’
 William Knight: My Design DNA
Freedom to Exist: ‘Unisex and minimalist, the FtE watches are timeless’
 William Knight: My Design DNA
Vitra chair: ‘Heritage and innovation is blended perfectly, and a visit to their amazing campus on the Swiss / German boarder is a must for design devotees'
 William Knight: My Design DNA
Audi: ‘I’ll aim to drive an Audi whenever I can. Performance and reliability of our car has been outstanding’
 William Knight: My Design DNA
Runwell Turntable by Shinola: ‘set up to revive industrial design and manufacturing in Detroit, their product range is closely managed from there and you can almost feel every design decision’.

I decided to move to Dubai because the opportunity to work with and for the design community in an emerging market like Dubai is very exciting. The city is not only a wonderful gateway to explore the rest of the region but it is a global hub in the making – something that I’d like to be a part of.

Key moments in my career have always been conversations; making myself available to discuss plans and ideas has always opened the door to explore new career opportunities. 

A key conversation that I remember took place in Sydney in 2003 with Sir John Sorrell, where he outlined the concept behind the London Design Festival. I was on board fairly swiftly after that, and the subsequent turning points in my career can be traced back to that very conversation. 

Diversity is what I enjoy most about my job the different set of challenges and what they present: from strategic thinking to unpacking boxes. The diversity of people I interact with - from young designers to government ministers – continues to keep the job interesting and dynamic.

I got into design through politics. I actually started working at the UK Design Council in 1999, on their government relations team. It was an exciting time to be in this field of work; the UK had woken up to the power of design and creative industries, not just for the economy but as a way of expressing a nation’s culture and modernity. 

The advice I’d give young designers is never lose faith in yourself, and be demanding. The best designers do not compromise. The future success of design needs to be more femaleled. 

I’m looking forward to keeping an eye out for the design heroes of the future here in Dubai, where women will take the lead.

As I’ve become older I’ve become punchier with my style I was once given a pair of teal patent shoes designed by Jaime Hayon for Camper. This started an appreciation for distinctive footwear. 

Today, I still try and wear distinctive footwear, but I also really like Cos for its well-thought through and accessible minimalism.