PROF KNOF: Architectural Healing


SEEING THE LIGHT | Architecture as a means of healing. 

Every time I am in New York I like to come here for a moment of reflection. The World Trade Center Hub Oculus designed by Santiago Calatrava is a dynamic physical structure as a symbol of strength, healing, and growth from a place of pain. Santiago Calatrava has long been one of my favourite architects, better known for building bridges than buildings it is clear to see that he is a natural connector. In life we have a choice we can keep a wound alive or we can choose to grow from it, to build with new meaning, presence, and spirit.

To me, this is such a dynamic and significant structure. Rather than allowing the site to remain empty as a representation of fear, terror, and pain, Calatrava has created a unique futuristic building symbolising hope, growth, and restored faith. It also connects. It is a main transportation hub connecting New York and New Jersey while also intentionally providing a spiritual connection to the heavens with a strategically aligned oculus.

To learn more...

INTERIOR DESIGN YEARBOOK 2017: Susan Knof contributes on the topic of International Design

The Interior Design Yearbook is specifically aimed at architects, interior designers, specifiers, contractors and key designers in the sector.  The Interior Design Yearbook provides inspiring and original information on the trends of today and future innovations. It is a first class directory complimented by market predictions and expert analysis.

This year Creative Director, Susan Knof, contributed to the Yearbook discussing International Design.

Contributing designers have previously included Giorgio Armani, Tara Bernerd and Anouska Hempel, whose experience and insight into the interior design industry have proved invaluable to designers and suppliers alike. 


LONDON FASHION WEEKEND:16 Fashion meets Interiors

Happiness is when your two favourite worlds collide; Fashion + Interiors. Check out the LFW 16 link where Creative Director, Susan Knof lends some inspiring advice for your SS16 Interiors!

Layer upon layer of texture

One of the keys to pulling off a neutral design is using different textures. Think of a soft fluffy rug, paired with whitewashed wooden floors and a glossy table. You can take more risks when you’re narrowing down your colour scheme and allow the textures to create a strong visual impact. Textures are also great to avoid a neutral room from becoming too sterile. Using natural finishes such as wood and brick – either painted or left au naturel – can add warmth along with an industrial element. Interior designer Susan Knof of Knof Design shares “Neutrals for SS16 is all about the details and layers! Create an interesting composition with material variety; wool crepes, silk satin mix, floral lace, and delicate patterning. I would also include some subtle metallic embellishments, beaded detailing, exposed stitching, stud work patterning and free flowing tassels. To add interest I love getting inspired by the delicacy and details of the fashion world, Chloé is one of my all-time favourite fashion brands to look to.”

Love Story

Valentine's Day - a celebration of LOVE is around the corner. To celebrate, we have curated a hand-picked designer selection of our favourite little luxuries. Feel the inspiration and treat yourself or someone special.  X O 

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
— Victor Hugo

Welcome to PROF KNOF sessions: Architectural Inspiration

Welcome to the first PROF KNOF sessions! I hope to share my passion for Architecture, Design, and all things that Inspire! Today, I start with one of my greatest loves, Contemporary Architecture and the legends behind them. See the detailed list below to coordinate the above images with their architects. I hope this inspires you to learn more about these architects, buildings and the theories behind them. Live, Love, and Learn!

1. Oscar Niemeyer - Niterói Contemporary Art Museum - Rio de Janiero, Brazil

2. Le Corbusier -  Notre Dame Du Haut - Ronchamp, France

3. Rem Koolhaus - Casa da Muisica - Porto, Portugal

4. Richard Neutra - Kaufman House - Palm Springs, California

5. Carlo Scarpa - Chapel Skylight at Brion Cemetery- San Vito d'Altivole, Italy

6. Charles and Ray Eames - House and Studio - Los Angeles, California

7. Peter Zumthor - The Therme Vals - Vals, Switzerland

Designer in Profile: Susan Knof, Creative Director and Owner of KNOF design

Name: Susan Knof

Company: KNOF design

Position within company: Creative Director and Owner


. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

My design background has been varied, yet consistent.

I initially studied Psychology prior to switching to Interior Architecture/Design and graduated with Honors from Miami University. I minored in ceramics, sculpture, and metals and studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Upon graduation, I worked at large practices, such as Gensler and TPG Architects in New York City. From there I progressed to smaller and smaller firms to allow me to experience all facets of the design and construction process. I also spent time as a Professor at Berkeley College. After living amongst the devastation on September 11th, I took a short career detour to Hawaii where I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a native Hawaiian family on the island of Oahu.

I love all elements of design from the more fluid art and design aspects to the structural and technical components. I have worked in all sectors of interiors from corporate to commercial, hospitality to residential. I am happy where I am now with a primary focus on residential interiors, it’s very personal and rewarding.

 . How would you describe your personal interior design style?

My personal interior design style revolves around balance and harmony through contrast. When the building is a modern new build I like the interior scheme to add warmth through materials and eclectic furnishings. Whereas if the framework is in a historical context, I like the interiors to be clean and modern so the contrast can highlight the beauty of both extremes. I love creating spaces that enhance moods and tell individual stories. I tend to use soft calming colours and lots of natural light. My projects are psychology based- I want a space to evoke a feeling and mood. When you build something and you can feel it, you come alive!

I will never forget the first time I stepped foot in The Pantheon, it was an overwhelmingly spiritual feeling. The Pantheon radiates order, peace, harmony, and unity complete with a central oculus connecting the visitor to the heavens. It’s magic!

. Where does your design inspiration come from?

My inspiration primarily comes from people and travel. When I feel happy I am inspired. My niece and nephews are so pure and enthusiastic on their view of the world. I love when I get to see them experience something for the first time. The beauty in life I think is to keep your eyes clean and clear and try to witness routine experiences with new light. When you can do that, endless inspiration is absolutely everywhere.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense? Incredibly bespoke. global, and sustainable. I am an American designer living in the UK working with a Bulgarian team on a project in Angola – it really doesn’t get much more global than that!

 . Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.

1. How will it make you feel?

2. Can it be more environmental?

3. Who is going to be a fun and reliable team to work with?

4. What can we do different?

5. How can we improve?

 . If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?

Let the outdoors in. Nature creates positive space, light and views. Above all, wholeheartedly enjoy the process. Anything created in love is a success!

 . How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

The International Design and Architecture awards are a brilliant time to pause and reflect and be grateful. We are lucky! We design, create, and build. I know I can be guilty of intense focus and passion happily moving from one great project to the next. It is nice to take the time to pause and reflect on personal achievement and those of our inspiring peers. I truly love architecture and design, it is so nice to share that passion with others.

 . What projects are you currently working on?

A 7,300 sf Victorian conversion in London, A lakeside family home nestled in the commuter outskirts of Manhattan, and a 7,500sf new build Balinese style beach house in Western Africa. Three continents, I know!

 . What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Foster and mentor a nice team that loves the process as much as I do. Continue making solid connections. Travel and be Inspired. Keep the work life scales even. I would love to work on a small boutique hotel or restaurant.

 . Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

Your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession is a multi-toned gold bracelet given to me by my grandmother before she passed away. She was a well traveled and incredibly stylish woman. She was tender, yet strong. It has become a good luck charm of sorts. I like to think that when I wear this bracelet I radiate her positive energy and attributes. In my career I have attended some rather intimidating meetings at large board room tables with a male to female ratio generally 10:1. I have travelled to some developing areas and I have worked with heads of state and celebrities. I think it is always important to stay grounded and remember who you are . The bracelet is an important reminder of where I came from and who I value.

Your favourite holiday destination?

One? You are asking the wrong woman! Hawaii, Fuertaventura, Italy, New York, Cape Cod, Croatia, India, Holland, Sweden, and Devon.

 Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?

Hotel: Therme Vals by Peter Zumthor, It’s actually still a dream, I haven’t been yet. But, my heart beats a little faster when I look at it. The man is a genius.

Restaurant: Tian in Vienna

Bar: Roialto or Bar Basso in Milan

Your favourite book / film / song?

Book: Siddhartha

Film: The Big Blue

Song: I’m on Fire|Bruce Springsteen

Your favourite food and drink?

Fish tacos with extra avocado and a Negroni.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)

Yoga at sunrise, a long swim then paddleboarding or kayaking. In the late afternoon we would sit for lunch which would segway into dinner, surrounded by good friends, family, food and music.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

A woman with free-time! Or a National Geographic Photographer. My father has every issue of the magazine. I grew up surrounded by stacks and stacks of this bright yellow periodical. As a child, I loved sitting on the floor of our small town New Jersey living room just flipping the pages, admiring the beautiful images of people and places and travelling in my mind. And now my father shares articles with me of places I am travelling to or have been, it’s incredible!

Anything else interesting?

I think I’ve said enough.

Follow Me

Hello and welcome aboard! Good design is about curiosity and exploration. Exploring options, ideas, techniques, and style. I am a design addict and a natural explorer. This intrinsic curiosity has led me to some of the most fascinating parts of the globe to the tiniest of local markets. I'd love for you to join me on my design journeys!.....Follow me on this exciting process where I will share with you my favourite inspirations and discoveries from architecture and design to furniture and fabrics and everything in between. You can also find KNOF design on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook so you too can follow on the move...Are you ready? Let's go!  

x Susan