Randy Franks grew up Cadwell, Georgia, a small rural town where his father was the Baptist minister and his best friend was the only artist. In 1983 Randy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia, graduating in the top of his class, having already completed numerous large residential commissions as an undergraduate.
He immediately began work in Atlanta as an interior designer at Stevens and Wilkinson, one of the most prominent architectural firms in the South, working with teams of designers and architects on, primarily, corporate headquarters for such companies as Siemens and Coca-Cola. At the latter, he was also involved with selecting artwork, including an important set of works by Andy Warhol, for their permanent collection.
In 1986 he continued doing corporate design for Cooper Carey Architects, another prestigious Atlanta firm that specializes in high-rise construction, where he concentrated on programming, space planning and custom signage.
During this last period, Randy joined his father on a month-long missionary expedition to Africa and on to Europe, which made corporate design and Atlanta itself seem suddenly small and forced him, in 1987, to expand his horizons and move to Los Angeles.
His first year was devoted to only one project, selecting artwork for the seventeen floors of offices at Peat-Marwick, a national accounting firm, where he successfully introduced the world of modernism to their very conservative art committee and became acquainted, in the process, with most of the city’s major gallery owners and many of its best artists. Following that, he helped the law firm of Halstead, Baker and Olson to expand their art collection and to remodel their new offices.
These experiences led, in 1989, to Randy being asked by Modern Living, the well-known contemporary furniture showroom, to be its Creative Director and Buyer, providing a full range of interior design services and buying at international furnishing shows. He collaborated with leading architects and designers while coordinating exhibitions and consulting to photographic, film and video artists.
During this time he also accepted a large number of private commissions, many with movie industry celebrities, to the point that, in 1993, he went on his own and opened Randy Franks Studio, on Melrose Place, taking on a wide variety of residential and commercial projects throughout California, New York, and the Caribbean.
As well, he became the production designer for a number of television series and formed a sculpture and furniture design partnership, Toparovsky + Franks, designing products for the collections of Vittorio Bonacino and Andromeda Lighting in Italy. They also produced a line of limited edition bronze accessories that were published widely, including a feature article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. One of these pieces, a candelabra, is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
By the mid-1990s, a number of Randy’s clients began moving from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, bringing him along to remodel their new houses; by 2004 he was doing so much of this kind of work that he moved there himself. But even though Randy Franks Studio is located in Santa Barbara, Randy still has a large number of projects throughout the United States and can offer all of his clients the benefit of his many connections, resources and years of experience in the design Mecca of Los Angeles, not to mention in New York, London and Milan.
WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE RANDY FRANKS
Throughout his wide-ranging career, Randy Franks has maintained a philosophy that clearly sets him apart from most of his peers:
He does not have a signature look that he tries to stamp onto every project. Instead, he listens carefully to his clients in order to create what is exactly right for them. He is a master of the eclectic and most people find it hard to believe, after viewing his many projects, that one designer could have done so many different styles, and so well.
He is very concerned with meeting a budget, no matter the size, and is determined to give each client the best value for the money. He is happy to work by the hour and to do only as much as clients want or can afford.
He is not in any way a prima donna, for he knows well that the key to great design is open collaboration, with the client, with architects and other designers, and with anyone on the job who has something to say; he is very aware that you never know where the next great idea is going to come from.
He also knows well that the key to great relationships with clients is complete transparency, by discussing every decision or purchase early on and by making the billing process as understandable as possible. He wants the only mystery to be how many hours he doesn’t bill for, when he can’t keep a design problem off his mind.
Which brings up his most important characteristic, his passion. He truly treats every project as if it were his own and has be the best one he has ever done. This passion for design and for life itself charges every aspect of his personality, contributing enormously to his success as a designer and, as well, to his becoming, among many other things, one of the best dancers, cheerleaders and story-tellers the world has ever known.
1983 Bachelor of Fine Arts
University of Georgia - Athens, Georgia
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE - INTERIOR DESIGN
Toparovsky + Franks
Los Angeles, 1997- 2007
Co-owner - Furniture, Lighting, Product Design Company & Showroom
Randy Franks Studio
Los Angeles, 1993- Present
Owner - Full-service Design Studio & Showroom
Modern Living Showroom
Los Angeles, 1989-1993
Creative Director - Buyer, Interior Designer
Jan Kesner Gallery
Los Angeles, 1988-1989
Reel Grobman, Interior Design
Los Angeles, 1987-1988
Corporate Interior Designer and Art Consultant for Peat Marwick & Company
Cooper Carrey Architects
Corporate Interior Designer and Graphic Designer
Stevens & Wilkinson Architects
Interior and Furniture Designer for Corporate Headquarters of the Coca-Cola Company and the Siemens Corporation.