So often, we feature designers’ finished projects. Whether it’s residential or commercial spaces, we’re only seeing the result of a lengthy creative process. But what about where that creative process takes place? Stepping inside a design studio is about as “behind the curtain” as you can get.
Partners (professionally and in life) Damian and Britt Zunino lead Manhattan’s Studio DB—a creative architecture and interiors firm. The couple launched the firm in 2007, bringing their unique backgrounds together: she worked in fashion, editorial styling, and professional action sports; he studied architecture at Yale. They’ve got this cool push-and-pull aesthetic, with a mix of materials and rooms that are elegantly playful.
We’re touring their Flatiron office today, with Britt and Damian offering a tour and sharing, for lack of a better term, “where the magic happens.”
Tell us about your studio. Where is it located, how did you find the space, and what do you love most about the neighborhood?
Our studio is within a former manufacturing loft between Union Square Park and Madison Square Park. When we started looking for a new office, a space with maximum light exposure was important. We also wanted to be in the Flatiron/ Union Square area because so many showrooms relocated here. We live in the area, so it’s great being close to home and walking to work, school and the Union Square Greenmarket.
How do you describe Studio DB’s signature style? What are the hallmarks of your designs?
Throughout our designs, you’ll see an unexpected mix of materials, unusual forms and whimsical patterns and colors, all anchored by a contemporary feel. Authenticity of materials is important to us– we love juxtaposing tactile, raw, and unfinished materials with soft textures and playful patterns. Also, most of our clients have children and having four of our own, we love creating playful spaces that stand the test of time as the kids grow up.
What is a “typical” day like at the office?
Our day typically involves many collaborative meetings with the team where we bounce ideas off of each other, review concepts and collaborate with contractors and vendors. We have projects in so many different stages– some are finalizing technical details and others are in the planning stages. As we’re preparing for summer installs, we’ve also been very busy with travel.
Many creatives can attest that work/life balance is hard to come by…we imagine that’s tenfold when you’re married! How do you strike the balance?
We haven’t figured that out yet, but at least we’re on the same page about it! Moving closer to school and our studio has been a real game changer. We’ve found more balance by being closer to everything. Our family is always our priority, so being close to our four kids is important.