DaW: KITE Architects & Anjali Joshi Design
KITE Architects is a Providence-based architecture firm that works with forward-thinking organizations and developers to design thoughtful buildings that enhance their community. Walking into their bright, sunny office, you can feel the vibrancy and creativity! A key feature of the office is a modern plywood screen that extends over the front desk. Not only does it cleanly separate space in the open office, but it's sets the tone for the office; striking, modern, and the first thing you see when you walk in. The KITE office is lined by massive plate windows that let in maximum sunlight and there are plants everywhere. Along most of the non-windowed walls, you see photos and 3-D models of various past KITE projects. The whole environment is so inspiring!
I got to sit down with Christine West, AIA, Principal at KITE Architects, to talk about KITE and what inspires her to design:
KITE always works around the idea that architecture creates places for people. "When you realize that a window and a stair add up to create spaces that help people thrive," you get inspired, said Christine.
WHY RHODE ISLAND? "Rhode Island is a great place to be a designer because we really have that sense of community that a lot of places lack these days. It's very easy to get to know a network of people who really care about their community. It's very easy to make relationships that often turn into client relationships. We attract great talent because Rhode Island is a fantastic place to live - the quality of life is just outstanding, so it's a pretty easy choice."
"I left graduate school and could have gone anywhere, but Rhode Island really had that magic combination of really beautiful cities, great work environment, great people, culture, restaurants, beaches, all of it."
"There are a lot more designers than just about any place because it's a place that really nurtures talent, recognizes talent, and rewards talent. And it's the kind of place where you can do your own thing and find a lot of resources. I know people in all sorts of crazy careers - from oyster farmers to storytellers - but for a designer, being able to open up your own shop and find co-contributors and collaborators is really pretty terrific."
*Check out the Design Is Rhode Island Instagram now to see the team at KITE takeover our InstaStories! Also tap the "At Work" Archive to see the clips we took at the KITE Architects office for #DesignersAtWork*
ANJALI JOSHI DESIGN
Anjali Joshi Design is a Rhode Island Landscape Architecture & Design firm focusing on seamless integration of landscape with interior spaces and exterior finishes. With training and experience in both Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Anjali crafts innovative designs that are unique to each site and client, and she uses native plants and local materials to create sustainable, low-maintenance landscapes.
Anjali Joshi Design focuses its practice in three key elements:
Architectural elements - Anjali always tries to work custom architectural pieces into her landscapes. Custom features are always reflective of and specific to the client, and they are fabricated locally in RI. Custom features help tie landscape into the architecture and make the entire landscape work with what’s already there. To Anjali, "integration is key."
Native plants - Anjali incorporates exclusively native plants into her projects, and she also tries to integrate plants and natural elements that already exist on any particular site. For example, she transformed one client's large rocky front yard into a natural meadow; rather than getting rid of the thousands of stones, she used them to construct stone walls that would then enclose and separate different plant varieties.
Thoughtful Use of Materials - Anjali highly values conserved and custom-made materials. "There are so many fabricators right here in RI. And living here allows you to access local custom fabricators at a decent cost."
Anjali has designed many small- to medium-scale residential and institutional gardens around New England. More recently, she is expanding her practice into larger public gardens - allowing her previous projects to inform newer, bigger ones. "Making well-crafted space is very important to me," she said. "I'm excited to take that into public spaces and the larger scale."
This year, Anjali designed a Pocket Park in Cambridge, MA that is set to be finished with construction next year. Check out some images of the project below! The Pocket Park will be constructed on an underused site at the O'Connell Library in the densely populated and diverse neighborhood of east Cambridge. With custom lanterns and benches, a design based on nature and the human experience, and locally sourced materials, this design aims to "bring nature back to the city" with a contemplative garden that offers safe respite to older neighbors, space for story hours and gatherings, and intimate nooks for conversation and reading.
Stay tuned for videos from Anjali Joshi Design coming this Thursday to Instagram!
Want to join in? Post yourself working on something cool using the hashtags #DesignIsRhodeIsland and #DesignersAtWork on Instagram, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you know a Rhode Island designer who should be featured in this series!