Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Laney ‘08
Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Laney ‘08
Anthony Laney ’08 and his partner Krista Flascha Laney ’08 are co-founders of Laney LA, a multidisciplinary practice in Los Angeles. After graduating at the top of his class at USC, Anthony, with the support of a USC Discovery Scholarship, led a team of volunteers that designed and built student housing for orphans in Cambodia. Connections from that project led to one of Laney LA’s first projects as a firm.
This semester, Anthony started teaching Architectural Drawing at USC, where, he notes, he “developed a passion for drawing.” He also notes the importance of drawing to his practice. ‘We focus on something called “live design” with our clients, exploring ideas in real-time. It includes 3D modeling, but also includes drawing. I think there’s a captivating hybrid in our studio between digital production and the art of the deliverable.’
Can you give a brief summary of your trajectory since you graduated from USC?
I worked as a designer for several local architects, as did my wife. I got licensed and decided it was time to team up with my wife and start our own practice.
You got licensed relatively quickly. Why was that important, and you do have any advice for new grads about licensure?
The licensure process has such a terrible stigma that architects tend to procrastinate. I think it might have taken [me] four to five years. You can do it in two-and-a-half, if you want. I actually really enjoyed it. The IDP process gets a bad rap. Studying for the test, you learn stuff. Part of my practice is pushing our designers to do that. I think there’s value beyond the piece of paper, especially for entrepreneurs.
What does your office look like?
My wife and I are the two principals. We have 4 full-time architectural designers, and we have several part-time staff. We focus almost exclusively on local projects—projects in Southern California that we can be deeply connected to during the design and construction process. We’re very narrow in our geography, but we’re very broad in our project type. We’ve done new homes, remodels, master plans, landscapes, interiors, websites, and even iPhone apps. For a client to hire us, they have to be convinced on so many fronts, so in that sense, clustering is very important. We stay very close to L.A. and the beach cities. One day, I hope that grows, but it’s been a wonderful starting point for us.
Can you describe your partnership with your wife?
We met—first day, freshman year. In third year, we had a design studio together, and that’s where we really became friends. We share a passion for design and share a common faith. We got married a couple years out of college, and now we have two young boys. We met, shoulder-to-shoulder, competing against each other in design school. Her approach is very different; she’s very intuitive. I tend to be more critical, analytical. People who know us well see distinct styles. We attempt to create a result that possesses a singular personality and voice for each of our projects.
What are you working on right now?
Our team is working on several homes in Manhattan Beach. Some of the most exciting projects are for professional athletes. We’re also doing a home on the Strand in Hermosa and several more residential remodels locally. We are designing a new retail showroom in El Segundo, and we’ve got a handful of interior design projects as well. We design dozens of outdoor spaces each year, and we currently have several on the boards. Lastly, we’ve got an iPhone app under development and an internet advertising project that will launch spring 2017.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I would like to grow our practice. Right now, we have about two layers of management. There’s me, and there’s the designers. I would like to grow that more in the studio—more leadership, more gray hair. This year, we are launching a new studio, in a much bigger space. I aspire to continue to expand our services into related fields of design to achieve a holistic result for our clients. I’m also very excited that what we’ve been working on for the last three years will probably be built in the next five. To be able to look back at the first wave of work, with our authorship, is something I look forward to.
Do you have any advice for current architecture students?
- Use your design creativity on your career. Don’t be uber-creative on your projects only and then be predictable in your career. Think outside the box about where you’re going to go.
- Then, dream about what this will turn into. Begin with the end in mind. If you want to start a practice that focuses on this, get some experience in that. It doesn’t have to diminish self-discovery.
- Work with us ;)