Ark is a business located in the Waterfront Commission’s Phillipsdale subdisctrict. The East Providence Waterfront Commission is the permitting authority for 300 acres of the East Providence Waterfront. The goal of the commission is to support the revitalization of vacant derelict structures and buildings and underutilized land to attract new businesses, jobs, housing, recreation, civic and cultural opportunities. We spoke to Brandon Lane to learn more about Ark.
What is Ark?
Ark is a company that repurposes material, specifically wood. With a modern approach to reclaimed wood, Ark’s goal is to make reclaimed wood easily specifiable to architects, builders, and homeowners. Reclaimed material takes expertise to be incorporated into projects, and Ark makes it easier by handling the process from collecting the wood to processing it for use. Ark builds products for large-scale commercial use, as well as renovations and custom work. You can find their work at various commercial businesses around the northeast, including the new Narragansett Brewery in Fox Point and at Moniker Brewery on the West End.
What is special about your reclaimed wood?
Ark specializes in reclaiming old growth wood, mainly southern yellow pine and spruce wood. Southern yellow pine, the majority of Ark’s stock, is uniquely dense and durable. The wood is sourced exclusively from decommissioned mills. Most of the wood at Ark is from the old textile machine manufacturing mill in Pawtucket. Southern yellow pine is a finite asset because it is no longer being grown for commercial use. In short, the only southern yellow pine that can be used for products is what has already been cut down decades ago.
Wood from the mill building also allows Ark to offer a wider range of aesthetics in their products, from clean-lined flooring with stunning grain to a bar counter with more of a warehouse look, containing original metal pieces still in place in the wood. “What’s special about Ark is how we control the degrees of reclaim, from a refined look to an industrial gnarly look and anything in between.” Ark’s command of their wood proves that reclaimed wood can be used for a wide range of purposes.
The nature of reclaimed material also implies sustainability of Ark. Ark provides gorgeous material for a second life and ensures that all parts of the wood find a home– “People even come and take handfuls of the sawdust for their yards.” Ark is a part of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Ark has also embarked on historic renovations projects, several located in Montauk and the Hamptons, where many homes were originally built from the same southern yellow pine.
Ark in East Providence
Ark was founded two and a half years ago by a lifetime Rhode Islander, Steven Lane. Having worked on several building projects, the idea was sparked by frustration with the lack of accessible reclaimed material to specify in designs, though the practice of utilizing reclaimed material is robust in other parts of the world.
East Providence is a perfect location for Ark. Situated at the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and near the Rhode Island School of Design, there are many mills to source wood and talent to repurpose it. Most of their market is based in the northeast corridor as well, in order to keep their carbon footprint related to transportation low.
The size of the warehouse in Phillipsdale allows all parts of Ark’s process to be housed under one roof: it serves as the manufacturing floor, show room, and storage area for all the wood. Architects, builders, and clients can envision larger scale works by visiting the facility.
Backbar at Moniker Brewing
What is the future of Ark?
While the southern yellow pine Ark specializes in has no sign of running out soon, they are also exploring the reclamation of other materials such as ceramic, tile, and metals. Ark is also designing tiny homes. Furthermore, Ark seeks to become more accessible to the market and an affordable alternative to current timber solutions. Their plan for a more sustainable future is rooted in New England’s industrial past, and is growing through their incredible reuse of preexisting materials.
To learn more about Ark, visit: https://www.arkwood.build/
Visit https://www.arkwood.build/tour-video for a tour of their facility.