Location: We’re in New York City, between the Lower East Side and Nolita.
Duration: We met in 2001 while working for Bill Drenttel and Jessica Helfand at their studio, Winterhouse, in Falls Village, Connecticut. We kept in touch after Rob [Giampietro] moved to NYC. When Kevin [Smith] arrived, we began working together again. We’ve been running the studio for about two years.
Staff: The studio is the two of us, although we’ve added an intern and we sometimes partner with other firms and freelancers.
Education: Rob attended Yale University, graduating magna cum laude with honors in Fine Art. Kevin attended the University of Hartford Art School and graduated with distinction. Both have had valuable mentors along the way, and both are proud now to be teaching at Parsons School of Design.
Cultural Influences: One of the great things about design is that it can be influenced by every realm of culture. Pop culture, counterculture, advertising, the art world, anything. We look at and read about as much as we can. As a result, the studio doesn’t embrace any specific “style” in solving problems for our clients. We’re continually inspired by great Modernists like Josef Müller-Brockmann, innovative artists like Ed Ruscha, and writers like Lawrence Weschler and Jonathan Franzen.
Environment: A loose, open-plan office with a comfy couch and a sizable library. We also sit next to one another at the same worktable, as we did at Winterhouse. It helps us to collaborate more actively.
Philosophy: Design is a tool for learning. While design has many roles in culture, what motivates us is our ability to learn about the world through what we make for our clients and collaborators, and, if we do our job well, to help others learn through what we make.