Her ‘need’ to create filled designing unique spaces
MATERIAL GIRL: Julie A. Lancia, left, founded ALX Group 12 years ago, growing the firm’s reputation through interesting work and use of creative materials. At right is her assistant, Gloria Fournier.
PBN FILE PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
By Michael Souza PBN Staff Writer
Julie A. Lancia has been the principal of ALX Group Inc., in North Providence, since it opened 12 years ago. “The ALX Group was started as a vehicle for me to start creating some different interior spaces, creating different pieces of furniture or cabinetry to fulfill the need that I had to create,” Lancia said.
Her design firm has earned the reputation of being unique in its use of creative materials.
She goes to great efforts to find material across the globe. She travels to many countries several times each year to see the latest styles and trends, inspiring even more creative work.
But that doesn’t stop her from paying close attention to what is going on stateside, especially in the Ocean State. With more than a decade of experience she has developed relationships with some of the best artisans, contractors and craftsmen in the area.
The company is willing to take on any commercial or residential project. Recently the work has been more residential. “There are a lot of times when we will take a raw space and have to transform it, it’s what I prefer to do,” she said. Other facets of the company’s expertise include remodeling.
It is a versatile practice, able to design space in a high-rise in downtown Providence – a space that was recently featured in Design New England Magazine – to a mill on the Blackstone River in Pawtucket. The mill space was constructed of stone, brick and wood, but Lancia never feels compelled to use the same materials.
In one recent brick mill installation, the floor had electrodes that sparkled and moved as people crossed the room.
She also has used electronic kitchen cabinets and a lot of unusual hardware, including hanging doors. Some of her designs have included mosaic tile, one even in the shape of a UPC bar code.
Multiple showerheads, body jets and a ceiling-mounted showerhead complete with multicolor, LED light therapy and rainfall are just a few of the bathroom options.
At the same time she is also the creative director for Symmetry International Inc. in Lincoln, she said.
The Rhode Island native first went to school in Boston but quickly changed her studies to design and earned a ticket to the Parsons School of Design in New York City at the right time, according to Lancia. Years later she returned to work at Symmetry. There, her horizons broadened when projects included not only residential space, but hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, private residences, retail stores and spas.
Lancia believes each project is individual and she treats it as such, thus she has no particular style. Each space must be adapted to the building, but more importantly, the client.
She said that paying attention to the details is also very important, including the increasing use of power stations for lighting, computer tablets, music stations and telephones. The design also uses green materials whenever possible. And no matter what, it must be made in America.
Looking to the future, she intends to step up her Internet activity, providing a blog on the latest news. Another website featuring items she has procured that are for sale is also in the works.