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Design Stories: Zack + de Vito
Design Stories: Zack + de Vito

Jim Zack and Lise de Vito are Principals of Zack/de Vito Architecture in San Francisco (and they're husband + wife). Their award-winning modern creations span restaurants, wineries, commercial and retail properties and residences. The duo's work has been featured extensively in publications and their furniture designs are in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

What's the best design advice you have ever received and from whom?

Zack: "Buildings are big things," - Gary Parsons, my first year design teacher.

de Vito: "Start from the body, then let it get to your soul," - Professor at architecture school.

What's the one style/design rule you never break?

Zack: "Ornament is crime." - Mies Van der Rohe.

de Vito: Exploiting natural light.

Always Break?

Zack: "Less is more." - Adolf Loos.

de Vito: Defining what a building material can be.

Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from Knoll Space at
Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe from

Who are your design icons?

Zack: Nationally and Internationally: Steven Holl, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano. Amongst my local peers: Aidlin-Darling and Olle Lundberg.

de Vito: Jean Nouvel, Eva Zeisel, Le Corbusier, Donald Judd, Charlotte Perriand.

What's your favorite place to search for design inspiration?

Zack: In the nuts and bolts of everyday objects and structures, and from inspired spaces I visit.

de Vito: Driving in San Francisco at dusk when everyone has their curtains open and you can peek into people's lives.

I skimp when buying. . .

Zack: Clothes, I like it simple.

de Vito: Condiments.

I splurge on. . .

Zack: Food, I like the best, whether at home or eating out.

de Vito: Bread, jam and bedding.

What's your next "must have" purchase?

Zack: A 2010 Yamaha YZ 450, the next wave of motocross technology.

de Vito: A rocking chair and bake sale products from my daughter's school to support reconstruction in Haiti.

What's your most cherished item?

Zack: Are my kids an "item"? Assuming not, my new carbon fiber Look road bicycle and my 1983 Honda CR450.

de Vito: An Eames chair passed down to me from my father.

What's your favorite vacation spot?

Zack: Hawaii always works, interspersed with an annual destination adventure to new, previously unexplored locations.

de Vito: Any city - can't get enough of urban life - then we head to the beach!

What's your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Zack: The last restaurant we designed, so it changes every few months, or in a pinch, Chow in San Francisco.

de Vito: Gialina Pizza.

I spend my weekends. . .

Zack: Hanging with my kids, riding bikes, thinking about racing motorcycles, working on my house.

de Vito: Hanging out with the kids at Chrissy Field/Presidio with the Golden Gate on one side and the city scape on the other.

Design: Stories: Jim Zack + Lise de Vito

Jim Zack + Lise de Vito as featured in YLighting's "Love Light" campaign. April 2010 issue of Dwell.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

GLO' Ceiling Light

GLO' Ceiling Light by Leucos

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