Designer Spotlight: Roche + Roche

Roche + Roche is family-owned landscape architecture firm located in the beautiful Northern California city of Sonoma. Led by Landscape Architect David Roche and Landscape Designer and Horticulturist Nancy Roche, the prestigious firm also benefit from the skills and experience of Senior Landscape Architect Salvador Dávila and Landscape Designer Iain Pryor. Roche + Roche has a unique perspective, using their conception of “soft fascination” to create truly stunning rural contemporary designs.

We sat down with David Roche to learn how the team uses Infratech heaters in their designs for resorts, wineries, and residential developments and to get his thoughts on the elements of successful design and any trends of note.

How would you describe your landscape architectural style?

We create quiet landscapes of subtle beauty. Our landscapes are designed to enhance the restorative effect of a subtly shifting natural environment, a phenomenon known as “soft fascination.” We practice the mantra of ‘unify, simplify, amplify’, editing out the unnecessary and celebrating the distinctive and powerful.

Describe “soft fascination” and how it relates to your work and overall design philosophy.

“Soft fascination” is the name given to the way the natural environment shifts very subtly: not enough to be jarring or threatening but enough that it holds your attention. This can be watching the waves at the beach, watching the tips of grasses move in the breeze, or watching the changing light around dawn or sunset. We aim to provide these types of experiences in our landscapes, to create opportunities for quiet reflection and reconnection to the natural world.

How much of a role does the geography and culture of Northern California play into your landscape designs and overall decision making process? 

Well, I was born and have lived most of my life in Northern California, so I was raised on the beaches, foothills, streams and mountains here. I think it’s fair to say I have been immersed in it. That said, we are very conscious of what a gift it is to be able to live and work in such a beautiful and bountiful place and we never underestimate how big a pull the “California” or “Wine Country” indoor/outdoor lifestyle has on the imaginations and desires of our clients.

What would you say is the biggest influence on your design process?

I would say time spent outdoors — at our home, at friends’ homes, out at the beach or in the hills. Nancy and I both respond to the family-and-friends, food-and-wine culture, but also to the positive effects of taking a “nature bath,” soaking in the sights and sounds of the natural environment, whether wild or man-made.

When and why do you use Infratech heaters in your work? 

We have specified Infratech heaters for years on residential estate, winery and resort projects. One of the great things about Northern California is the ability to be outside nearly year-round.  Heaters can extend the hours in the day and the days of the year you use the spaces you’ve created.

What trends are you currently seeing in the landscape design world? 

Pools, bocce courts, fire pits, water features, outdoor kitchens and outdoor dining continue to be very popular. We’ve seen woven willow fences and shade structures trend and lately more sport courts and putting greens.

Where do you see landscape design headed in the next decade?

We are seeing our clientele getting younger and younger; Northern California is the epicenter of young, bright creatives realizing amazing rewards, often in the tech world. They tend to be tech-savvy, environmentally aware, interested in new materials and finishes, and very focused on the “experience” of spending time with their family and friends in interesting and thoughtfully designed spaces. And we’re happy to help them!