MEET THE DIRECTOR OF KNIGHT ARCHITECTS

4 Jan 2021 | Student Advice

Knight Architects are Europe’s leading bridge architects. Since 2006, they have specialised in the design of bridges and infrastructure. In this Q&A we asked Martin Knight what the driving force was behind him starting Knight Architects, and what advice he’d give to students setting out to start their own business. Here’s what he had to say…

Tell us about your business.
Knight Architects is a 20-strong architectural studio specialising in the design of bridges, for which we have an international reputation.
What was the driving force behind your business?
After working for leading architectural firms in London, I wanted to pursue my lifelong passion for bridge design, hoping that somehow I could make it a commercial success.
What are your core business values?
At Knight Architects, we value design excellence and its pursuit; we think and act with integrity, honesty, trust and respect; and we embrace and promote diversity, exploration, creativity and originality. It’s a bit wordy but it really helps to write this stuff down, so you can measure how well you’re doing!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Setbacks are a natural part of life and of doing business. They hurt but you can analyse them and learn from them. Tenacity is a key attribute of successful people.
If you had one piece of advice for students setting out their own business what would it be? 
Two pieces of business advice: unless it is genuinely charitable, never work for free – respect yourself and clients will respect you – and be the boss you always wanted. Karma will be your friend in both cases! And opportunity lies in every conversation you have with every person you meet, every day, if only you’re alive to. That’s three pieces.
Are there any other brands within your sector that you are following at the moment?
In the world of retail, I’m impressed by brands like Patagonia and Howies, who have a clear social and environmental agenda that is well aligned with their business aims. They have the courage and confidence to stand apart.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
As a business, to have survived, and thrived, for almost fifteen years (but without growing too big). To have designed some extraordinary bridges around the world, which have improved people’s lives in different ways. But mostly to have had a lot of fun, and made a lot of friends, along the way.
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