|Alan Tanksley by Richard Shultz|
This same extraordinary vision and highly personalized style characterize every one of Mr. Tanksley’s timeless designs for a most appreciative clientele both in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Tanksley and his staff of ten are among America’s leading practitioners of residential design and of detailed interior space planning and custom furniture and fixture design.
Renowned as an expert colorist, Mr. Tanksley creates shimmering palettes that ultimately manage to make every interior space both exciting and relaxing simultaneously – a must for his demanding, highly exclusive clients. His day-to-day working relationships with such leading architects as Maya Lin and Robert Orr give the firm the unusual ability to draw on expert talents to implement a wide range of architectural renovations for each project that it undertakes. Prior to founding his own firm in 1993, Alan Tanksley was a partner in another firm and was previously an associate with the distinguished designer Mark Hampton.
He worked closely with Mr. Hampton on the design and supervision of many of the company’s most notable residential projects. Mr. Tanksley is a graduate of Arizona State University’s School of Architecture specializing in interior architecture. Among Alan Tanksley, Inc.’s elite clientele are Paul Simon, John Bartlett, Ambassador Edward Elson, Lionel Pincus, Jane Pauley & Garry Trudeau, Gilles Mendel, Goldman Sachs Company and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Check out my exclusive Q&A with Alan Tanksley below.
What first attracted you to to design?I can't say that I can pinpoint one thing that first attracted me to design. Like may others it seems that something was inside me from the very start, perhaps the same way others are drawn to sports or science or any other passion before they knew enough to consciously pursue it., Fortunately, both my parents were very curious people by nature and due to my father being a commercial pilot we travelled fairly extensively. An appreciation for history, architecture, nature and art were organically imbued in use as we accompanied them from place to place and they shared their love for such things with.
The environment I'm given to work with, along with my clients' stated desires kick off the search for creative solutions. Most often my initial goal is to organize an environment to a place that is innately compelling and approachable. Whether it be a house, a room or a table top vignette my goal is always the same, to make the user feel
What inspires you in your creative process?
To begin, I had the good fortune to start my career in the office of Mark Hampton, one of the masters of 20th century design. With Mr. Hampton I was introduced to a world of design and a lifestyle that opened my eyes to the limitless adventures that can be experienced through the business of design and decoration. One of the big downers has been the times when working with clients who approach the process from an adversarial, small minded point of view. That's a guarantee for a joyless, soul crushing experience. There's simply not enough time available to squander it on any such relationship.
What have been the highlights and challenges throughout your design career?
What have been the best projects you’ve worked on?The projects that truly stand out have been the result of working relationships with people who've participated and communicated with me in an enthusiastic and collaborative manner and who have a respectful understanding of the complex, often challenging processes required to accomplish something truly great. Some of the stand outs include residences in Snowmass, Vail and Telluride, Colorado as well as a modern ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
What projects are you currently working on?We are extremely busy right now with three exceptional residences in the Boston area, combining two apartments in NYC to create a single, full floor apartment and an extraordinary project in one of New York's most recognizable buildings.
You’ve designed for many ‘celebrity’ clients and famous faces. Which of these projects have been the most fun?I've worked with a handful of well known people, the most visible being the singer and songwriter Paul Simon for whom I worked on his Manhattan and Montauk residences. However, as far as fun goes I have a long and very friendly working relationship with Garry Trudeau and Jane Pauley on their NYC residence.
Which is your favorite design style/period?Now, because I have the luxury of working in any period should I have the opportunity to or, more likely, enjoy the challenge of artfully moving among several periods within the same environment.
Who would be your dream client?As long as we're daydreaming, Mame Dennis, the fictional character who lived at One Beekman Place. Not only was she smart and funny and glamorous she completely changed the decoration of her massive apartment on a regular basis.
Other than her I'd be very pleased to have more of the of people I'm currently working for. I'm very fortunate, they're an ideal assortment of clients.