Based in Western Massachusetts, Nova Design pulls inspiration from local New England vernacular while working with a modern vocabulary of details and materials. Barns, mill buildings, and farmhouses are building types that lend themselves to reinterpretation, combining the old and the new; the modern mixed with the historic. Spaces are simple, clean, modern and natural with an inherent warmth of character.
RACHAEL ALEXANDER CHASE
Based in Western Massachusetts, NOVA Design pulls inspiration from local New England vernacular, while working with a modern vocabulary of details and materials. Barns, mill buildings and farmhouses are building types that lend themselves to striking reinterpretation, combining the old and the new; the modern mixed with the historic.
"Look for the unknown in the familiar." - Errol Morris
I grew up in a 1758 colonial; the original Post Office in Amherst Massachusetts. Surrounded by antiques my parents brought back from two years of living in Japan in the early 70's, the patina and history of New England and the simple, clean lines of Japanese furniture and pottery are influences to this day.
The juxtaposition of the two is what I think makes a space amazing: clean, modern, simple, and natural with an inherent history and warmth of character.
My mother is an amazing creator of home, garden, food and family and her design aesthetic was ever-present. My father, as a psychiatrist, had endless stories of human interaction and taught me a lot about listening.
Good design comes from both the ability to listen and the drive to create.
I studied sculpture in college with a focus on installation art. I began to think in terms of space, and about the relationship between sculpture, installation, and interior architecture. I also began designing and building furniture. Building furniture was a way to begin to understand the translation between a drawing and the finished object.
I realized that architecture united my background in sculpture and my interest in materials, details, light, and space.
I worked for Austin Design, in Colrain, Massachusetts, for five years as a designer before deciding to go to graduate school. I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 with a Masters of Architecture with High Honors. Since returning to Western Massachusetts in 2007, I have worked for both Austin Design and Kuhn Riddle Architects. NOVA Design Studios was launched in Spring 2013.
In my sixteen years of experience designing in the pioneer valley, I have worked with many talented and exceptional builders and artisans. It is these relationships that I am thrilled to cultivate. From concrete to wood and metal, and from furniture and housewares to renovations, houses, and commercial spaces, anything is possible.
The vision for NOVA is one of an ongoing collaboration between talented and innovative designers and builders in order to bring you the best design possible.
"Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, and comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition." - Freeman Thomas
A little more about me:
Along with furniture and architecture, I take a lot of photographs. Walking my amazing dogs every day has turned into an obsession with light, color, and perspective. My photographs are listed under the name 'Field of View' at www.printsonwood.com. Printing on plywood gives the already painterly images another layer of texture, and saturates the color even further. I hope that they each tell a story.
I have been the editor of the newsletter for the Western Massachusetts branch of the American Institute of Architects (WMAIA) since Spring 2013. We publish a quarterly newsletter, which can be seen at www.wmaia.org. Putting together these seasonal issues keeps me involved in the professional architecture and art communities.
Finally, I teach at UMass Amherst in the Architecture + Design Department. Teaching undergraduate + graduate students the conceptual process of architectural design is a constant reminder to think about my own process - what I have learned, how to use that knowledge, and how much more there is to know. Architecture is an ever expanding game and there is always more to know.