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Split Rock Design

Designer: Anthony Cortese

586 Ridgewood Road
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Garden 2 - Seasons of Renewal
Anthony Cortese has been the proud owner and leader of Split Rock Design, a design and build company created in 2016.  After spending years in the Urban Planning profession, working for both the State of New Jersey and the City of New York as an Environmental City Planner, Anthony decided to join the landscape and hardscape world.  He joined his family's successful masonry business where he learned the old-world craft of stonework, which has been in his family for generations, since moving from Southern Italy.  He spent 10 years in the stone masonry business where he tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible on construction techniques and various natural and fabricated materials.  While working, he began taking classes in Landscape Design and Horticulture at Rutgers University.  It was at Rutgers that Anthony realized his passion for design and especially for ornamental plants.  After years of education in these and other related areas, Anthony decided to launch Split Rock Design which fused his old-world knowledge, past down from generations, with modern design philosophies developed through years of academic pursuit.  By combining these very different elements, Anthony and the Split Rock Design team have made it their mission to transform spaces both small and large by using very old and traditional materials in novel ways that when done right, can be very special and truly transformative. Through Split Rock Design, Anthony continually seeks to challenge the status quo of every facet of the Design/Build process.  He does this by looking to change the ways in which things have been done in the past, in favor of trying something new, even though that can be a more challenging way of going about a business that constantly tries to pull you to what's already been done.  This philosophy is something Anthony tries to apply at every level of Split Rock Design, such as trying to avoid overly repetitive designs or materials that are used to often, which can lead to spaces which leave the visitor or homeowner feeling uninspired.  Sometimes it's as simple as taking an old concept or material and applying some type of new approach or design style, which when added, can achieve a unique quality that makes the space feel special.  This process, while somewhat more time-consuming in the beginning, does not necessarily have to be more expensive.   Anthony also views the landscape as a living, breathing organism.  He believes that we should be designing with change in mind, plants and trees will grow and mature, materials may change or fall out of fashion, and most importantly, the desires of the people we are designing for will also change.  This philosophy guides the Split Rock Design team to plan for flexibility and change, as much as possible.   They ask themselves questions like "What will this tree look like in 10 years?", or "if the homeowner decides to add this new feature in 5 years, how can we incorporate it into our plan as seamlessly as possible when that time comes."  This longer-term consideration allows the Split Rock team to create spaces that will look good in year 1 and year 10. Beyond being the proud owner of Split Rock Design, Anthony has several other passions and loves, first and foremost being his wife and children.   Anthony's wife Melanie, also a member of the Split Rock team, shares his philosophy and has been a strong supporter of his pursuits, playing an instrumental role in helping to get his company off the ground to where it is today.  Outside of work, Anthony enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing the piano and listening to music.   Anthony also trains in the Martial Art of Soo Bahk Do which helps to ground him, and add balance and perspective to his otherwise busy life. Anthony has a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of New Hampshire and Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.