the time Aeron Knutson was 15 years old, heíd lived in 15 different
places (his father was a business consultant whose projects took him
all over the country).
around sometimes, Iíd be ahead in classes, or behind, or in
between," Knutson says. "But I could always be in art class
and that was an easy connection wherever I went. Iíve loved drawing
and creating things since I was old enough to pick up a pencil,"
from New Berlin West High School, Knutson landed at the Milwaukee
Institute of Art & Design where his career as a designer with an
emphasis in interior architecture was primed for take-off. His
industrial-inspired take on a coffee bar for a new student union won
the schoolís design competition. He worked with fellow students,
including Jeremy Shamrowicz, now better known as the founder of Flux
Design, to build it.
there at the right time, thatís for sure," Knutson says.
"My professor, Robert Lynch, was a real advocate of using
students for design talent at an early age." Not only does that
approach save money for the school, he notes, "itís priceless
for the students."
union project, and many others incorporated into a late-1990s MIAD
renovation, taught Knutson to focus on developing singular,
imaginative elements that become design focal points.
Today, as a
designer for P&H Interiors in Coral Gables, Fla., Knutson has the
chance to test that approach on interiors ranging from British
Colonial style to midcentury modern to ultra-contemporary. He recently
finished a contemporary condo project for a hockey player that
features an 8-foot-wide cantilevered fireplace, a nod to one of his
inspirations, the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Knutson also
was the lead designer in the renovation of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in
North Miami, an Art Deco icon. His latest project is a high-end
residential interior in Byron Bay, Australia.
Knutson says his
MIAD education taught him not just how to design, but how best to
build a piece as well.
"A lot of
builders appreciate me because I can really talk shop. I get in there
shoulder-deep with them and work out the details in fabricating
it," he says.
Once a project
is completed, all the attention to detail pays off. "When I walk
into a space after itís finished, the hair on the back of my neck
stands up. Iíve walked through this space a thousand times in my
head and now here it is. It is so great to work with clients who
really Ďget ití and really push me, too. I love taking it to the
next level for them."