RODE is known for championing thoughtful architectural design throughout Boston but there’s much more that goes into the finished product than can be seen from the street. You may be familiar with many of our buildings from their exteriors, but do you know the about the approach we take when designing the interior and heart of these spaces? RODE’s Interiors Group was led by a solo Interior Designer for several years, but as we’ve continued to grow our scope and scale of work, the ever-growing project list dictated a need to expand the team and assemble a group of designers to collaborate on the wide array of projects.
In the beginning of 2017, two new interior designers joined the firm and now, as a team of three, they are leading their own design projects and taking on a bigger role in architectural projects as well. We are really excited to have this dynamic new team and look forward to seeing how their projects take shape in the year to come! Let’s meet the team – Jess, Kelsey, and Carly and hear from them on the ins-and-outs of the “Interiors Group.”
Q. How is the “Interiors Group” integrated into the firm’s project work?
Jess, RODE’s lead interior designer, explains the Interiors Group’s growing influence in the firm. Since she joined the firm in 2013, she has been involved in our smaller-scale interior fit-outs, oftentimes acting as both the designer and project manager. With the growth of the interiors team, there are many more opportunities to get involved in the firm’s new construction projects early in the design process. As interior spaces become defined by the exterior architecture, we can test these spaces by pulling from our expertise in user experience; how people interact with and move through a space. This type of collaboration is exciting for us and the client because it creates a more functional and successful space plan.
Q. What projects is the interiors team most involved in today?
The Interiors Group is involved in much of RODE’s diverse portfolio, including the Cambria Hotel in South Boston, the relocation of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s corporate headquarters to Charlestown and a new restaurant, Southern Proper, right around the corner from our office in the South End.
Q. What benefits do clients realize when the interiors team is incorporated into the project from the beginning?
Clients can be surprised by how much crossover there is between architecture and interior design and how seamlessly our role is integrated. As we often say, “we’re not just picking fabric!” We manage our interiors-focused projects ourselves, which makes us responsible for engineering coordination, constructability issues, ADA and code compliance, and, of course, furniture and finishes.
Clients also appreciate our ability to manage their budgets - making sure they are getting the best bang for their buck without losing the quality of design that is essential to success of the project. Our projects tend to be concept–driven, so whether we go with high-end materials or in a more cost-effective direction, we ensure that the core concept is preserved along the way.
Q. What are some of your favorite mediums to stay current on trends and inspiration?
A couple of Kelsey’s favorite tools throughout her years as a professional interior designer include sourcing Pinterest and Instagram in order to stay on-trend. These well-known social media platforms easily and quickly push a wide variety of content to users with endless search abilities. When starting a new project, she often explores what is trending on these platforms for initial inspiration, understanding, and to generate ideas for a given space. This process not only begins to frame the architecture and design of a space, but includes an exploration of the textures, the food (where applicable), the graphics, and the general atmosphere to provide a holistic feel of the project’s environment and experience. The process of these image searches allows design elements to be effectively layered into the program with purpose, all while having a clear vision of what emotions and tactile experiences we want the end users to encounter.
Q. Why did you pursue Interior Design as a career path?
I asked Carly, as a recent graduate from Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT), what inspired her to pursue a degree in interior design. She explained that she was introduced to interior design and architecture at a young age. Her mom, a real estate agent in Maine, brought her into the homes she was selling. She took note of and interest in the furnishings at first, followed by the design and layout of the space itself. Rather than pursue architecture, she wanted to focus on the interior spaces where people live, work, and play. She chose WIT because of its well-rounded curriculum in technology and design, and the opportunity to engage in co-ops. At RODE, she is now contributing to several projects, such as a new restaurant and multi-family residences. She also enjoys meeting with our product representatives so she can learn more about new products and trends in the industry.
The growth of RODE’s Interiors Group echoes the broader demand for design expertise and services that brings our clients' visions to a fantastic reality. RODE’s sensitivity to a space and to its place in the community comes through in the thoughtful details. By experimenting with new trends and innovative tools, the firm is inspired by the interiors department’s creative process and is excited about projects ahead. Some of our recent interior projects are listed below, in which you can clearly see the connection between the soul of a space and its intended functionality come together through RODE’s creative design expressions.