Hidden Gems: Meet Brian Laubenthal, Architect & Principal of ALINE - Feature in Voyage Phoenix Magazine

June 17th, 2024 12:00am

Check out Brian's recent June 2024 interview with Voyage Phoenix Magazine, where he chats about ALINE's origins and what sets ALINE apart in the restaurant and hospitality architecture niche in the Phoenix valley. 

Inspiring Conversations with Brian Laubenthal of ALINE Architecture Concepts

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started? 

My professional journey began in 2005 when I met my business partner, Brian Krob, while working at another firm. We connected immediately, and he quickly became someone I could trust and rely on. A few years later, I joined a different company. When the recession started the company struggled and eventually closed.

Around the same time, Brian decided to leave his firm. Sensing a pivotal moment, we took a bold leap and founded our own firm in 2010. We started with almost nothing, learning the business side of running a company from scratch. Our success story is built on starting from the ground up and earning every opportunity along the way.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Running a business is more of a rollercoaster than a smooth, windy, or rough road. There are times when we’re managing a lot of work and other times when we’re out looking for new opportunities and networking to bring in more business.

The main challenge has been finding the balance between these fluctuating demands. I also believe when you start a business focused on what you are passionate about, you are not going to work but going to do what you want to do. That makes a big difference in how you go about your day.

I remember an early morning around 6 am, when the company was around 5 years old. I had 3 restaurant design meetings that day and had a lot to finish for the presentations. I remember feeling overwhelmed, but then stopped and just smiled realizing that I was doing what I wanted to be doing, I was living in the dream I had for myself years before.

We’ve been impressed with ALINE Architecture Concepts, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our firm is built around the principle of respect—respect for our clients, our team, our community, and the environment. We aim to collaborate with like-minded professionals who are passionate about their industry and committed to high-quality craftsmanship. Our goal is to develop well-crafted, thoughtful designs that meet the needs of our clients and respond to the environment and community they are part of.

A memorable story that illustrates our journey is when Brian and I started the firm. We took turns buying deli meat and shared the costs to keep expenses low. As the firm grew, we started to take lunch meetings out and splurged on nicer restaurants. This experience taught us that good things don’t always come instantaneously. It’s essential to start with the basics, identify your strengths, and gradually expand.

We share this lesson with many of our job shadow participants: gear your business or career towards what you are passionate about and stick to it. Have faith in it. We did that, and we attribute a lot of ALINE’s success during the first ten years to staying on track, staying the course, and always believing in why we do what we do.

We are also surrounded by an incredible community. One fun anecdote is before moving to Arizona, a co-worker at a firm I interned with gave me Patrick Rehse’s business card, a local Phoenix Architect. During my second year at ASU, Patrick took over my professional development class. Then, after ASU, I encountered Patrick professionally; his firm was involved in a project I was volunteering to be part of, and we sat together in meetings. Years later, when Brian and I were starting our own firm, we interviewed Patrick about running a successful business. This connection, which started with a simple business card, taught me the importance of always taking the meeting, keeping the business card, and showing up. You never know when someone you meet by chance will play a pivotal role in your next opportunity or career move.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?

As a child, I was very active and enjoyed being involved in various activities. I loved sports, but I also spent a lot of time exploring the forests and fields around our home. I loved building forts and imagining what I could create were some of my favorite pastimes. In high school, I interned at architectural firms and volunteered with Junior Achievements to help with community activities. I’ve always been passionate about helping others and protecting our environment.

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Aline provides a complete suite of architectural services with a higher level of craft and understanding for the built environment.

We are the right fit for:

  • New Commercial Buildings
  • Large Commercial Remodels
  • Mixed - Use
  • Adaptive Reuse
  • Restaurant Remodels
  • New Restaurants
  • New Custom Residential

We do not offer services for:

  • Residential Additions or Remodels
  • Small Commercial Remodels
  • Education
  • Healthcare

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