How a Renaissance Interior Inspires the Founders of A+I
A+I founders Brad Zizmor and Dag Folger reflect on the Gubbio studiolo and how its design creates an integrated, immersive experience.
When the two of us began our practice, we worked out of a studio apartment a block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Because our office was about 100 square feet, we frequently held walking meetings in the museum’s galleries. It is one of the few places in New York that really transports visitors through an integrated design experience. Tucked away in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts wing is a 15th-century studiolo, originating from a ducal palace in Gubbio, Italy, and designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. With its intarsia wood-inlay walls, subtle lighting, and damped-down acoustics, it immerses the visitor in a comprehensive experience of place, time, and object. We get more inspiration each time we visit—though our office has grown larger over the last 23 years, so the need for walking meetings has thankfully lessened.
In all of our work, we aspire to create fully integrated experiences, ones that explore strategy, architecture, and culture. This is new, in some ways, for a design practice. But in other ways, we’re drawing from a long tradition of comprehensive design that includes this studiolo, all the way back to the museum’s Temple of Dendur and beyond.
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