Spencer Luckey, President of Luckey Climbers, was drawn back into the family business just a few years after graduating from the Yale School of Architecture when his father suffered a catastrophic accident. Although it had not been his intention, it was his destiny and became his joy to preserve and quickly expand the business into an international brand in children’s climbers. Today Luckey Climbers is known for its advanced design and fabrication processes for designing and building elaborate, dynamic sculptures — for children around the world to experience the joy of climbing, crawling, and balancing their way through space and form.
KID ARCHITECT MANIFESTO
Architecture should be exhilarating. Like all art, it provides an analogue for achievement: watching a dancer, the spirit dances…A city soars with soaring towers. Bold architecture emboldens the self–In this way, I am optimistic about architecture. But the “self”, that architecture champions is an adult. It is a busy adult, burdened by responsibility…MEP, FAR, HVAC, and APR and other cryptic adult-world codes. Kids need architecture! I am a KID ARCHITECT! Everywhere kids go in the rooms of buildings, rules oppress them–alien rules written by adults–unsympathetic magistrates. All day. Kids are dragged through zones where they are the outsider–they have no cash for the marketplace or jobs for the highrise. They need a place! I am their architect–I am their advocate. Climbers are their built voice. They embody their drives: celebration, exuberance, maniacal play, spontaneous friendship–these are the concerns of children and these are the concerns of Luckey LLC. Climbing, crawling, meeting, and cavorting–this is what my architecture is about.
Anti-adult? No way! This architecture is about reconciliation. I don’t go for kitsch, I am not in the cartoon business. I am an idealist, and I pursue the highest level of aesthetic delight. Delight in beauty–beauty is the resonance of some fundamental thing, an eternal shared thing–having an “adult look” or “kid look” can’t be beautiful. I ply my trade for the whole audience: adults and children, dwelling, architecturally together. Architecture makes answers to questions, stale old questions asked in the same gray prose by a hoarse old voice. I look to my son, and look back to myself, through a glass less darkly, we ask the young questions.
Thomas Walker Luckey (1940-2012)
Thomas Walker Luckey, was an artist, sculptor and architect renowned for his one-of-a-kind climbing sculptures. A graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, Tom’s fascination with movement and his desire to create positive spaces inspired a diverse portfolio including merry go-rounds, a convertible staircase/slide, and the iconic “Luckey Climbers” that have delighted children and adults alike, in cities across America and the world.
Tom Luckey was a visionary, a creative genius, a legendary optimist, an exuberant showboat, and an infamous fun-maker. He was an avid collector of friends, regardless of age; all that mattered was whether you were willing to take a leap with him towards his ultimate goal: superlative joy. Tom was the quintessential military brat, moving frequently throughout his childhood. Even in those early years, Tom showed a unique ability to envision and bring to life imagined forms. He was always working with his hands and led by his dreams. From simple carvings, he built up to larger projects including a little cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, which he built when he was 16.
Throughout his career, Tom welcomed challenges and was stimulated by obstacles. He embraced uncertainty in his art and adapted to unanticipated hurdles. In 2005, he suffered a tragic accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. This was a change in his life most would find impossible, but Tom was often heard to say that “falling on my head was the best thing that ever happened to me.” It was a brave statement that he somehow made believable with his remarkable wit and optimism. Indeed, his career took off and his social life flourished during the final chapters of his life, testament to his remarkable talent and insatiable curiosity.
Dana M. Peterson
President of Operations
Dana joins Luckey LLC with more than 20 years of experience as a timber framer, welder, finish carpenter, business owner, and custom homebuilder. Prior to joining the company, Dana owned and operated a custom design and remodeling business in New Haven, Connecticut for twelve years, focusing primarily on residential properties.
He experienced his first Luckey Invention when he was 10 years old in the front yard of neighbor Tom Luckey. Later, in his early 20s, Dana sought out Tom’s advice as he was broadening his skills and exploring the artistic aspects of building. He had the opportunity to help build several Luckey Climbers and in the process, learned first-hand about all aspects of the process, from initial design, to construction of steel and wooden platforms, finishing, and on-site installation.
Since then, he has seen Luckey Climbers evolve and grow into the global enterprise it is today. He continues to find wonder and delight in their creation, and is committed to the company’s success.
When not at work, Dana enjoys time with his two young daughters and wife, Owen Sea Luckey.