Here, There And Everywhere: Blitz celebrates a year in Los Angeles with plans for a bigger spaceAuthor:Abigail Stone
“We wanted to create a design company that had the best people on board who felt like they could do anything that they wanted to within the framework that we’d created,” says Seth Hanley of Blitz, explaining where the architectural firm’s unusual name came from. “Our goal was really to try and resource great people and then get out of the way and let them be the awesome creatives that they are, which is something that we hadn’t necessarily experienced previously,” adds his partner Melissa Hanley. “We felt like we could change that by moving more quickly with fewer people, doing things that were really interesting to us and sprinting towards the deadlines that we create for ourselves. That rigor and that process is at the core of who we are,” she adds. Certainly the word, which is defined as energetic and concentrated effort on a specific task describes both the firm’s legendary work ethic and the astonishing number of projects they’ve managed to complete over the past few years.
Their list of clientele–which includes Google, Square, Yahoo, Levi’s, Microsoft, Skype, Method, Dropbox, Fitbit and Parachute–is a jaw-dropping list of who’s who in Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach. “We had quite a few large corporate clients asking us to do work in Southern California,” says Melissa, “and that coincided with the feeling that was an incredible opportunity for experimentation and risk in Los Angeles.” They decided to test the waters with a temporary satellite space. A year later, they’ve outgrown their 1100 square foot Culver City offices. “L.A. has that same energy we felt when we first opened our offices in San Francisco a decade ago, with the opportunity for new voices to come in and contribute to that conversation.”
Originally founded when its founders were laid off from the same firm on the same day during the economic meltdown of 2009, the company now has projects in Europe, Asia and Australia as well as the US. “We’re getting a lot more crossover projects now, expanding beyond just interiors into more adaptive reuse projects,” Melissa shares. “We’ve got clients now that are asking to take on whole buildings, that are asking to really contribute to the urban fabric and seeing their entry into a neighborhood as an opportunity to help with regeneration and contributing to local businesses. That is really exciting.”
While they may be known for their expertise is best known for their projects within the technology sector, the firm believes that the evolution of the workplace is a universal one. “We’re seeing a maturation in the client requests. Asking for wellness is one that we’re seeing a lot of, so healthier, adjustable, ergonomic. Work / life balance has become a major issue. So the folks that started companies ten years ago in their 20s are now in their 30s. Their back can’t sit on a beanbag chair for eight hours a day anymore!,” says Seth. “People spend the majority of their waking hours in the projects that we’re creating for them. It’s a tremendous obligation to get it right,” says Melissa. No worries there; they fact that they’ll soon be moving into a bigger space says it all.