Perched atop a tower building in central New York sits a small Greco-Roman temple, famously referred to as "a little Parnassus in the sky". The metaphorical home of poetry, literature and learning, Parnassus captured the qualities that QNY Creative founders Ezio Burani and Anna Urban hoped for in their studio.
"As soon as we saw the building we knew it had to be our home - where we could dream and create," says Urban. "The cosmic energy was immediately present. No feng shui expert needed." The duo's "modern imaginarium" has been situated there ever since.
For guidance in a more tangible form, the studio turns to master Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni, whose Manuale Tipografico (1) takes pride of place. "Bodoni said that good design hinges on four principles: uniformity; sharpness and neatness; good taste; and charm," explains Burani. "Our studio lives by those standards in our work and in our space."
The space itself is a treasure trove of objects, collected over the years, that that hint at the designers' own quirks and interests. Burani's 70s Sculptura Donut phone (2) traveled over to New York with him from his native Italy, and has been ringing in his office since 1993.
Regular visits to local flea markets have fed Burani's personal obsession with vintage vinyl (3). With a collection estimated at "over 15,000, easy", the records have a special place in his heart. "Every one is an adventure, a story, a memory, a feeling and an inspiration," he says.
Veering to the kitschier end of the spectrum are Urban's action figures, toys and manga, including an odd little plush toy (4) from her childhood that acts as the studio's mascot. "He was discovered as a happy accident," she smiles. "He reminds us to stay curious like kids.
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 222.