Back in his early youth, Warren Knight, a born-and-raised New Yorker, designed a series of items to adorn his childhood bedroom. Since then, his passion for design has led him to Italy, where he has spent years learning true artistry from some of the most outstanding craftsmen in wood, textiles, glass, ceramics, bronze and stone. This undaunted passion and education culminated in the first complete collection of the furniture and lifestyle brand, Blu Knight.
Located by Ponte Santa Trinita, his headquarters for interior design showcases elegant furniture, antiques, accents and lighting, all of which are designed by the man himself. Knight’s classical, timeless design takes its inspiration from both Western and Eastern styles, from eighteenth-century England to the Ming dynasty, from the Italian baroque to the Han dynasty. These items are exclusively handcrafted and use only the highest quality of materials for production.
First of all, could you tell me about your design process?
The designs for all of these products come from my imagination. I sketch them out at first and then forward them to my manufacturers, who typically send them back to me for clarification. After I refine and shape my ideas, they are put into production.
So did you design everything in here?
Yes, I did.
Do your products always turn out how you had in mind?
There’s often a discrepancy between the thing in my imagination and its manifestation in reality. Nevertheless, by striving for perfection, I seek to bridge that gap. We work with a margin of error of about 10%.
So you moved here from New York to start a business, why?
Life, I believe, is about quality. For me the quality of life is much better here in Italy.
What differences and similarities are there between American and Italian business?
There are many differences. First of all, people have a different cultural mentality about work, which isn’t a negative aspect of business here, but which certainly required some adjustment from me. Second, the laws are different: contracts are different, hiring employees is different, and working with money, manufacturing, property, taxes, etc. is different. As for similarities, aside from the bare essentials, none come to mind at the moment.
What difficulties did you encounter when you started working in Italy?
Initially, I had difficulties finding an accountant and a lawyer; it took me a while to find the right person, which was very important to me, but now I have a trustworthy and reliable team.
What do you like about working in Italy?
The freedom. It’s far more affordable here than it would be in New York. I also disliked the pace of life in New York; it was too ‘go-go-go.’ In New York you work all day, fall asleep at 10pm and then wake up to repeat.
What else do you design aside from interior decoration?
Currently, we are working on expanding our lifestyle selection, so that our brand expands far past furniture and fills one’s life at home with comfort, elegance and beauty. Beauty is highly significant to me, both personally and professionally. And as I said, life is about quality, which is why I’m so committed to my work.
Life is about quality, and – it’s not hard to believe – Warren found it here, in Florence.