Friday Five With Seth Hanley of Blitz

Seth Hanley, AIA and LEED AP, co-founded award-winning architecture and design firm Blitz just one day after being laid off at the height of the economic downturn in 2009. Hanley says his interest in architecture began as a child growing up in London. “I was always designing and building things with LEGO as a kid, and I had my first drawing board when I was 12.” Blitz offers a variety of design solutions including architecture, interior design, graphics, and branding, for workplace, hospitality, retail, and education. Shortly after opening their doors, the firm landed their first major project: then-startup Skype’s 90,000-square-foot North American headquarters in Silicon Valley’s Stanford Research Park. Since that time, Blitz has worked with household names and tech titans such as Google, Microsoft, and Spotify, designing and implementing more than 300 projects. In 2019 Blitz celebrated their 10-year anniversary, the launch of Denver operations, and the expansion of their Los Angeles studio by nearly quadruple – all milestones that add to their success. Today, Seth is joining us for Friday Five, sharing five of his favorite things.

Photo: courtesy of

1. Palm Springs Modernism
Melissa, my wife with whom I co-founded the firm, and I began visiting Palm Springs about 10 years ago. Whatever the frequency is there, it’s our frequency. We got married at the Del Marcos Hotel, designed by William F. Cody, and draw inspiration from desert modernists like John Lautner, Richard Neutra, and A. Quincy Jones. There’s no other regional modernism that’s as calming as what’s found in Palm Springs.

2. Working on my hop farm
Engaging with nature and the earth is the ultimate source of peace. It allows my mind the space to slow down, and illuminates my approach to design. Plus, the toys are pretty epic!

Photo: courtesy of Yelp

3. Crooked Goat Brewing Company
One of my most beloved places to relax and have a beer is at the Crooked Goat Brewing Company, a local brewery in Melissa’s hometown of Sebastopol (also my second home). They brew a glorious IPA, Grapefruit Ibex, that will make anyone a believer.

Photo: Andre Benz

4. Tokyo
The city has such a layered, overwhelming, and inspiring stimulus. It’s like living in the future. Style, sophistication, and elegance can be found everywhere – in the food, apparel, architecture.

Photo by Ramin Rahimian

5. Blitz’s CEO
My wife and partner Melissa, Blitz’s CEO, was just 26 years old when we co-founded the firm at the height of the Great Recession. It was a time of considerable uncertainty that required a great deal of bravery. Her determination and willingness to dive in the trenches will forever be an inspiration to me. Having a life partner that shares your ambitions and goals is priceless. She makes a great partner in business, and in crime!

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.