Our Interview with Award-Winning SuperYacht and Luxury Designer Patrick Knowles of Patrick Knowles Design
Patrick Knowles is one of the United States’ most prolific superyacht interior designers. With a career in the marine industry (as well as private aircraft and luxury residential projects) that spans over 30 years, Knowles expertise has successfully put his firm Patrick Knowles Design on the map with award winning designs on a wide range of sizable vessels across the world.
Can you share with us your background and how did you get started in the interior design industry?
I arrived in the yacht design industry in 1989, after having worked in the aviation, commercial, hospitality, and residential fields. My introduction…was by chance. One of my brothers introduced me to a friend of his who happened to be the financial backer of a yacht-design firm in the United States. I worked for that firm for four years before venturing out on my own in 1993.
What makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Attention to detail and the ability to remain engaged from start to finish is a hallmark of longevity in this industry. The same expression applies in yachting as in so much else – ”if you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, then make a reservation!”
The ability to remain engaged through multiple years of design, development and building for a yacht, with focus from start to finish, is taxing – if it’s not in your blood. Luckily, it is in our blood! Our team’s project perseverance has proven over and over again to set us apart from our competitors.
So a brief story: we have designed multiple projects for one particular American client, who has the habit of starting the build of a new yacht before he is done with the current build. There we were, well into the build of a 60m yacht, when he decided to sell the vessel. Leading up to that time, we had already experienced 3.5 years and many iterations of intense designing, engineering, and building. The day of the sale came and her new owner decided to retain our services for its completion, however, there were modifications to be made to the design….major modifications, which were great. But at the end of it all, that project is the only project I’ve ever worked on in my career (31 years of yacht design) that tipped 7 full years of engagement! It was a great success and joy to see her finally sail away!
What are today’s top trends in yachting design that people can look forward to seeing at the world’s largest yacht show, the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (Oct 28-Nov 1, 2020) and what trends do you think we will see going in 2021?
There are several trends that I think will be seen throughout The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show that I also see becoming embedded as norms in the marine industry in 2021.
- Uniquely Shaped Windows. Once popular only in the recreational sector of boating, uniquely shaped windows have now become a staple in the luxury market. In the past, the rule was deck windows that were usually small and circular or oval shaped, but that law has now been shattered, with radically shaped windows below the deck and dipping close to the waterline.
- New Decking Materials. Typically deck surfaces were relegated to one of 2 options: teak and textured paint. With the advent of technology in man made products, such as faux teak and steon, all suited for non-slip applications, there is no limit on what deck design can become.
- Pandemic Priorities. With clients now thinking about quarantine and distancing for the first time, the priorities on yachts are changing. Air sanitizing systems are becoming de rigeur, but so are wellness and workout spaces, areas specifically designed for children and family members of all ages and additional storage for longer expeditions.
- A Focus on Pools. Hot tubs and jacuzzis have always been synonymous with yachts, but now it’s the swimming pool, the lap pool, the plunge pool, the hot pool, the cold pool and the list goes on. Additionally, the pools used to be relegated to the top deck, a.k.a. the sun deck, but now, of late, they are showing up on every deck of the boat including interior spaces where one can enjoy their plunge in their desired climate controlled environment.
- Manufactured Greatness. Surfacing should probably have been top of the list as it is trending off the radar. Natural stone has been a material of choice for decades of yachting, but quartz, porcelains and other manufactured materials are putting up a strong fight. With the latest technologies in these sorts of industries, one can now see versions of “nature” never conceived before – in texture, color and scale. These elements are presenting expanded opportunities throughout design – on yachts and beyond.
Are you working on any exciting projects right now? If so what are they?
I am currently working on several exciting projects! In the middle east on the Red Sea we are designing a beach house estate for a yacht client in which the exterior experiences are not only at the level of a 5-star resort, but the scale of the property is of equal measure.
Then we are in the midst of converting a commercial supply boat from a 65-meter work horse to a vessel for use by her owner to travel and circumnavigate the globe with the most impressive array of machinery, equipment and toys.
Additionally, we are beginning a working relationship with an American Shipyard, Metal Shark which is in the starting stages of producing a string of the most phenomenal catamarans imaginable, sure to make its mark on the marine industry.
I look forward to sharing next year’s boat show review (and update) with you, in which I will gratefully point out the many design and engineering marvels that will be folded into these impressive machines geared for serious circumnavigation and exploration.
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