September 17, 2018
Architect Melissa Hanley Revered for Visionary and Disruptive Creative Process
Enterprising CEO of Blitz Recognized Among Top Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs and Executives
SAN FRANCISCO: Melissa Hanley, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, Co-Founder, Principal, and CEO of Blitz, has been honored as a member of the second annual Upstart 50 Class of 2018, which recognizes the Bay Area’s most visionary trailblazers and entrepreneurs. Blitz—the dynamic architecture studio known for its innovative work with the world’s most industry-changing organizations, including Google, Yahoo!, Fitbit, Levi’s, Microsoft, Square, Skype, and Dropbox—was also recognized on the San Francisco Business Times’ 2018 list of the 25 Largest Interior Design Firms in the Bay Area. These accolades follow the announcement of Blitz’s Los Angeles studio launch, which came in response to the firm’s substantial growth, adding to its existing San Francisco headquarters.
“The creation of our annual Upstart 50 publication started with a simple question: ‘Who are the people that set the Bay Area business community apart?’,” says the award organizers. “The people on our Upstart 50 list span sectors and interests, but all have a tendency to think outside the box and disrupt conventions.”
As part of this year’s Upstart 50 list, which is awarded jointly by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times, Hanley was among a diverse group of the area’s leading creative minds, venture capitalists, and tech entrepreneurs. She was invited to lead the list’s Class of Creatives by participating in a fireside chat with the Business Times, where she discussed her firm’s human-centered design philosophy and data-driven organizational strategies, as well as her view of clients as key collaborators in the design process.
“We eschew any ideas that aren’t authentic to who the client is,” says Hanley. “Blitz’s fresh, collaborative approach has led to our work with some of the most pioneering and innovative companies in the world. Clients are our most important partners and we advocate for them throughout the design process.”
Melissa Hanley co-founded Blitz in 2009 when she was 25 years old, one day after she and co-founder Seth Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, were both laid off from the same firm during the height of the economic downturn. Under Hanley’s leadership, the firm, which has grown from two employees to a team of 21, has been responsible for the design and implementation of more than 225 projects across nearly 4,000,000 square feet. The studio’s work has touched every corner of the globe, transforming whole buildings, complex technology campuses, and multiple offices and restaurants across the US, Western Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Blitz’s structure is more reflective of its Silicon Valley clients’ than that of a traditional architecture firm. The studio relies on agile methodologies, open communication, measurable metrics, and a flat organization to get results. Although Blitz’s workplace expertise is best known within the technology sector, the firm believes that the evolution of the workplace is a universal one. Retail brands, professional service firms, educational institutions, and medical and bio-tech companies have turned to Hanley and her team to challenge these historically traditional sectors to think differently about their spaces and the way they work.
By applying a human-centered design approach across various scales and typologies, Blitz brings the personality, culture, and values of each client to life in physical form. As an award-winning full-service architecture and design firm, Blitz specializes in creating fresh and innovative environments that disrupt the status quo. The firm offers a variety of design solutions, including architecture, interior design, graphics, and branding, for a range of typologies that comprises workplace, hospitality, retail, and education. To heighten the human experience, Blitz engages in an investigative process that includes immersive observation to understand clients’ needs, while using technology to optimize the design delivery process.