Patrick Garnett

Architect and interior designer


Patrick Barry Garnett, architect and designer: born Rhyl, Denbighshire 11 March 1932; married 1959 Derry Needham (two sons, two daughters); died 4 May 2006.

The architect Patrick Garnett made the rare achievement of designing for the masses and for the elite with equal panache, and his career is marked by the ability to embrace the fun, the fantastic and the serious in making exciting and pleasurable leisure spaces. He brought to British architecture a high-quality contemporary style that reflected key moments in the manifestation of popular culture in the second half of the 20th century.

Garnett, a founding partner in the architectural practice Garnett Cloughley Blakemore & Associates, was born in the chilly North Wales resort of Rhyl. He founded a practice there, and married Derry Needham, a local girl, yet his work took the practice to an international panoply of building sites. Garnett recognised the value of being associated with clients who had sufficient money to realise a good project, be it the entertainment magnate Billy Butlin, the royal family, or the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

After studying Architecture at Manchester University, and training with firms in New York and Los Angeles, Garnett formed a practice in 1959 with Anthony Cloughley. They secured a project to design an English version of "Disneyland" for Billy Butlin, Ronnie Smart (of the circus family) and a cinema corporation. Whilst this project foundered, it gave the practice the impetus to expand and flourish through work for Butlin, the caterer and hotelier Charles (later Lord) Forte, and the interior designer David Hicks.

Garnett was introduced to the film designer Erik Blakemore, who had designed the original Beachcomber Bar at the Mayfair Hotel in London. As Garnett Cloughley Blakemore (GCB), they provided six South Seas-themed bars at Butlin's holiday camps across Britain. The construction was undertaken by out-of-season waiters and Redcoats, a ploy by Butlin to retain their labour for the following season.

Garnett was also designing for some of the most technologically and socially advanced venues, exploring his commitment to the concept of totally designed environments. Through Butlin, his practice secured the project to design the interior for the "Top of the Tower" revolving restaurant in the Post Office Tower in London. This icon of progress displayed Garnett's taste for stainless steel, mirror and glass, a sophisticated expression of the camp that the practice used to infuse their work.

At this time the firm also produced the Chelsea Drugstore, a large boutique completely lined in reflective surfaces that multiplied the impressions of space, light and activity, and which formed an environment sufficiently disorienting to be selected for a scene in the film A Clockwork Orange (1971). Joining the Drugstore on the Kings Road were other, smaller, eye-catching boutiques styled by GCB, and they produced themed pubs, restaurants, Spaghetti Houses, and a number of private flats for the Chelsea set.

For Forte's, GCB designed the Scratchwood (now London Gateway) and Corley motorway service areas. The former was applauded for being the first such installation to offer high quality surroundings and a haven of tranquillity away from the road; the latter gave motorists the sight of a curvaceous yellow fibreglass edifice acting as a gateway to the Midlands. The aim with both these works was to convey to the everyday motorist a sense of elegance, and thereby educate the public to expect better design.

The contract with Forte's led to work on hotels in a dozen countries. Garnett recalled travelling in Forte's private plane to inspect the site for a holiday village in Sardinia. He sketched a scheme in the sand that afternoon and the practice designed the complete village including the church. There was also a holiday complex in Cyprus. The notion of total design reasserted itself in GCB working on everything from the rooms to the discotheques. Garnett was able also to contribute to the means of getting holidaymakers to their resorts, providing interior design for the liner Queen Elizabeth II alongside David Hicks, Misha Black, Michael Inchbald and Terence Conran.

He made regular public appearances and wrote on the importance of good design in the leisure industry. Garnett's links with the best in modernist design for lifestyle and fantasy are evidenced by his interviews with the architects César Manrique (who styled Lanzarote) and Oscar Niemeyer (creator of Brasilia).

GCB were subsequently house architects to the RIBA, and worked on Windsor Castle and the Palace of Westminster. At its peak the practice employed around 100 staff. By 1985 the firm had disbanded and Garnett ran his own practice in Covent Garden.

Patrick Garnett was active in the Architects Benevolent Society, arranging a number of fundraising events to support their philanthropic work, and he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

David Lawrence

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links