Gensler is an American design and architecture firm headquartered in San Francisco. In 2012, Gensler generated the most revenue of any architecture firm based in the US for the second year in a row. As of 2015, it operates offices in 46 cities in 16 countries worldwide.Art and Drue Gensler, and their associate, James Follett, founded the firm in 1965. The firm originally focused on corporate interiors, but has since diversified into numerous forms of architecture and design, including commercial office buildings, retail centers, airports, education facilities and entertainment complexes. It is also involved in planning and urban design, brand strategy, environmental graphic design, mission-critical facilities, sustainable design consulting and other areas.Gensler was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1935. An only child, he grew up in West Hartford, Conn., and graduated from high school in Garden City, Long Island. His mother worked for the phone company. His father, known as “Slats”—no one called him by his first name, Millard, or Arthur, for that matter—sold ceiling tiles for Armstrong Cork Co.
“He was one of the best architectural sales reps ever,” Gensler says of his father. “He was all about service to the client.” Years down the road that life lesson would shape the young man’s own business philosophy. “I wanted to be an architect for as long as I can remember,” he recalls.Married in 1957, and Gensler got his BArch the next year. Upon graduating, he fulfilled his ROTC obligation as a six-month wonder in the Army Corps of Engineers. Then followed several years of job-hopping—in New York, with Shreve, Lamb and Harmon (architects of the Empire State Building); in Kingston, Jamaica, with Norman and Dawbarn; after two years in Jamaica, his friend, Peter Flack (of engineers Flack & Kurtz), recommended him for a job running the New York office of architect Albert Sigal, who was designing schools that also served as fallout shelters. When the school funding dried up, Gensler decided to relocate to San Francisco with Sigal.In 1962, with three sons in tow (a fourth would come along later), he and Drue headed west, settling in the bayside town of Tiburon, in Marin County. The new job turned out to be short-lived, so Gensler moved over to Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, where he directed the development of design standards for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. “Then, through a friend from Cornell, I had a chance to start my own firm,” he recalled. The opportunity: tenant development for the Alcoa Building, an SOM-designed office tower at 1 Maritime Plaza. In 1965, with Drue as office manager-accountant and Jim Follett as first employee, M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates Inc. was launched.
SEE ALSO – NY CITY HOME: JOHN LEGEND & CHRISSY TEIGEN Gensler believes that architecture is a still a great profession for young people, despite the recent layoffs (even at his own firm). “Smart young people have a great future, but you have to think of design as ‘Big D,’ not ‘little d,” he says. “You can’t think only of the aesthetics and not also the functional operations of the project, and you have to be flexible enough to meet the short-term changes that happen every day. “That’s why I get up and go to the office every day, because I hope I can make a difference for our clients”.Explore our pinterest board for more inspirations. Get more ideas for your projects and find functional, stylish and sizable lighting choices.