Dreaming of Europe: Part 3 Rome

May 6, 2014 by bryan

MAXXI interiorRome metro

Here is Part 3 of our 4 part video series, Dreaming of Europe. The footage is from our annual inspiration trip to Europe. This film is all about our time in our favorite city, Rome!

We will show you the great sites of Rome as we saw them and hopefully some new places as well.

Dreaming of Europe: Part 2 Paris

April 29, 2014 by bryan

Here is Part 2 of our 4 part video series, Dreaming of Europe. The footage is from our annual inspiration trip to Europe. This film is all about our time in Paris. We take you the viewer into the home of our dear friend and cinema custom designer, Aurelie's home.

Join us as we:

  • take the metro
  • visit the growing 3rd wave coffee scene
  • tour Rodin's garden
  • wander the Jeu de Paume
  • check out the Palais de Tokyo
  • take in a Parisian sunset from the top The Pompidou
  • take time to breathe in the Saint-Sulpice Church
  • climb the steps of the Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre
  • gaze at the sun-drenched Notre Dame
  • walk the Luxembourg Gardens
  • and dine with the locals

Dreaming of Europe: Part 1 Netherlands

April 27, 2014 by bryan

Tram in Den HaagDen Haag art museum

Last summer we wondered what it would be like if our Instagram photos came to life, so we decided to create a video diary as we experienced each place. In past years we brought an iPhone and our trusty Nikon D300, but this time we added in a Nikon D7100 for video and a second camera. We created videos for AmsterdamParisRome and Copenhagen.

View Part 1 below:

Making Time for Inspiration

April 24, 2014 by bryan

(Except from Inspired Magazine 4/23/14)

When our husband-and wife graphic design studio, Mazzarello Media & Arts, launched in 2009 we knew we had to run our business and life in the most sustainable fashion. After all we launched in a not-so-friendly economic climate. Well over five years later we have more than doubled our business and have served over 100 unique clients. How have we done it people ask? Especially as a graphic design studio and a married couple that pretty much spends 24/7 together?

We found it was important to build a necessary interruption into the rhythm of our lives. That break serves as a milestone in our year and allows us to focus on a goal and build momentum towards it.

Rather than have our time be marked by the fiscal year or chronological year, we measure time by these moments of reflection and refueling. We don’t know what this will look like for us in the next five years but for the last five we have spent these interruptions refueling, by devouring creative inspiration while traveling.

That time of refueling and inspiration refills our creative tanks that we draw from each and every day for our clients. We first do this on a weekly level by working Monday through Thursday and reserving Fridays for reading design magazines and websites, hikes in the California Redwoods and visits to museums like San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Oakland Museum of California.

On a bigger scale each year went set aside several weeks to travel abroad. Why travel you may ask? Why not something else? When we travel something amazing happens. Our eyes are opened, our minds expanded and we dream greater than we had before. We then can draw from the inspiration throughout the rest of the year.

We immerse ourselves in the language, culture, cuisine and art of each place. When we come home we have several thousand reference photos and hours of video. It is like oxygen for our creative souls.

Travel exposes us to many forms of creativity that touch all our senses. Languages are very stimulating to our ears, mouth, and mind. Signage, art, and architecture are very stimulating to our eyes. Food stimulates our palate.

Bryan and Stephanie Mazzarello in Paris

Inspiration Trip 2013

February 2, 2014 by bryan

People ask us how we are able to keep creating year after year. We have a secret. Each year Stephanie and I take time to recharge our creativity by taking an inspiration trip. We immerse ourselves in the language, culture, cuisine and art of each place. When we come home we have several thousand photos and hours of video documentation. It is like oxygen for our creative souls.

For 2013 our annual inspiration trip we went to some amazing art cities:

  • Amsterdam
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Copenhagen

You can see more photos here on Flickr

We love our Chevy Sonic

July 8, 2013 by bryan

Our lives have been completely changed this summer since we bought a car. After a two year experiment of life car-free (May 2011-May 2013) we wanted to get a car. We loved learning the AC Transit bus system, riding BART and renting a ZipCar, but we still lacked the freedom to impulsively go wine tasting in Sonoma, camping in the redwoods, or a last minute road trip to LA to see old university friends.

So after quite a bit of discussion and debate we decided we wanted to get a car. But what car do we get? We knew we wanted to get a car that reflected our values and lifestyle and reflected us. Ultimately we landed on the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback in Inferno Orange.

Sonic is the only small car built in the United States (Lake Orion, MI) and packs a whole lot of attitude. You can see it from its chiseled front end to the rear spoiler. Even the rear door handles are hidden to keep that sporty, clean look without sacrificing functionality. Its aggressive stance, dynamic lines and expressive wheel arches let people know that Sonic is ready for some fun. When you have a car with this much power under the hood and up to 40 MPG highway, it has to be backed up by a look to match. Sonic is going to catch an eye or two. Its defined front end with exposed headlamps, unique dual-port grille and motorcycle-inspired rear tail lamps make a strong visual statement.

The Sonic also connects with Siri on our iPhones so we can talk handsfrees and take advantage of the killer sound system. It also comes with a  MyLink 7" color touch screen and we can connect our Pandora account for streaming music.

We love that the Chevy Sonic is made in the USA and that Chevy has been making big efforts to become more sustainable with their EcoLogic standards.

EcoLogic

 Landfill gas supplies more than 20% of the total energy for heating and cooling of the final assembly facility, which makes the facility less reliant on fossil fuels. The 1.4L engine facility and the transmission facilities are landfill-free. These facilities use a process to reuse, recycle or convert to energy all waste created in their daily operations, which conserves resources. Sonic is the only vehicle in its class assembled in the United States. This reduces energy consumption and emissions related to vehicle transport. The Toledo, OH, transmission facility features designated habitat areas certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council, which provide ecological benefits. After the vehicle’s useful life, 85% of it is recyclable. The majority of its components can be broken down and recycled, which conserves resources and reduces landfill deposits.

So far we have been really pleased and taken the car camping on the Northern California coast. We can't wait to see where our next adventure takes us.

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More from Germany, Austria and Prague

January 7, 2013 by bryan

This autumn we traveled to Europe for our inspiration trip. This year's forcus was on Germany, Austria and a side trip to Czech Republic. We had an amazing time in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Langenlois, Linz, and Munich. I hope you enjoy our travel stories and tips in our Things We Like section of our website.

Below are a few more moments we captured on the trip and we want to share them with you as desktop wallpapers. I hope they inspire you as they inspired us. Feel free to use as wallpaper for your iPad, iPhone or desktops.

Berlin, Germany

Berliner Fernsehturm

Berliner Fernsehturm

Berlin East Wall Gallery

Berlin East Wall Gallery

 

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Sunset

Prague Sunset over the Vltava River

 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Park

Vienna Park at Sunset

Vienna Stephansdom

Vienna Stephansdom

 

Vienna Metro

Vienna Metro

 

Langenlois, Austria

LOISUM Wine & Spa Resort

LOISUM Wine & Spa Resort

 

Linz, Austria

Linz Ars Electronica Center

Linz Ars Electronica Center

Linz Church Windows

Linz Church Windows

 

Munich, Germany

Munich Church Interior

Munich Church Interior

Munich Olympiapark

Munich Olympiapark

Marvelous Munich

November 13, 2012 by steph

Munich

We might have missed Oktoberfest (intentionally), but that didn’t take away from our enjoyment of Monaco di Baviera (as the Italians refer to it). We loved all of the delicious food and drink, world-class museums and beautiful green spaces, and came to really appreciate this self-proclaimed "northernmost Italian city". Our favorite part was just walking through all the parks and breathing in the scent of Autumn’s arrival in Bavaria; the beer and pretzels are a close second. Munich was the perfect relaxing end to our trip.

 

Museums and Sights

Englischer Garten

This large public park (larger than New York’s Central park) is 910 acres of beauty and relaxation. You can go there for cold drinks, hot food, live music (oompah), leisurely strolls, lovely bike rides, competitive pickup soccer and beautiful views. This park really is the best way to spend a sunny Saturday. If traveling to Munich again, we would set aside an entire day to just enjoy this park and all that it has to offer.

Viktualienmarkt

The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and a square in the center of the city that includes 140 stalls and shops. It is packed full of energy and delicious food and drink. For people that are slightly obsessed with food (while eating breakfast we talk of lunch, at lunch we discuss dinner, etc.), this is a paradise. I can still smell the deliciously stinky cheese and robust espresso. Oh and it has a a genuine May Pole!

Haus der Kunst

This museum is used to showcase temporary and traveling exhibitions, and has a complex and controversial past. Originally built as the Third Reich's first monumental structure of Nazi architecture, it was intended to house art they deemed Germany’s finest. It now contains artwork Hitler would have condemned and viewed as "degenerate". Due to lucky timing, we were able to see a very interesting exhibit that examined this complex history and the building’s ideological uses called Histories in Conflict. The other current exhibit, Ends of the Earth, presented a comprehensive historical overview of land art from its beginnings to 1974. Both shows were extremely well conceived and presented.

Learn more about the exhibit Histories in Conflict

Learn more about the exhibit Ends of the Earth

Olympiapark

This park was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and now serves as a venue for cultural and social events. On a beautiful fall day at the end of the Munich marathon it was packed full of people, and we loved just walking around and seeing all the interesting architecture. We were in the mood for a bit of a workout and hiked up the hill in the middle of the park. Our worthwhile reward was a stunning 360-degree view of Munich and the surrounding area.

Nymphenburg Palace/Park

This palace was founded as a summer residence for the rulers of Bavaria. Arriving too late in the day to go into the palace itself, we spent hours enjoying the beautiful and relaxing park. We felt like we escaped the bustle of the city walking along lovely canals and lakes, surrounded by trees on tiny pathways, and not hearing a sound besides the crunching leaves beneath our feet.

Neue Pinakothek

The Neue Pinakothek focuses on European Art of the 18th and 19th century. The extensive collection is presented in a very thoughtful manner, and we really appreciated the informative audio guide.

Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses a famous collection of Old Master paintings. We were actually lucky enough to attend a concert in the Rubens gallery, and during intermission walk through more galleries to view additional impressive works. Stunning music and artwork, it was a brilliant last evening in Munich.

 

Food and Drink

Ksara

We love Lebanese food and were lucky enough to find Ksara (thanks Qype). Everything was spiced perfectly and very fresh. From the falafels to hummus to fattoush to batata harra, everything was delcious. The only thing we would change is how quickly we ate everything...don’t get between us and our hummus!

Der Pschorr

This biergarten and hall serves up big beers and giant plates of tasty food. The place was buzzing with hungry and energetic people, giving us a glimpse of the energy that must be in abundance during Oktoberfest. They place an emphasis on locally sourced items, which made us happy, and the späztle, sausages and beer were very very good. Just keep your elbows down or you might get bumped by one of the zippy beermaids.

Hans Am Gluck

This had to be the restaurant with the coolest interior on our trip. They placed tree trunks throughout the restaurant making it feel like you are sitting in the middle of the woods from a Brothers Grimm story. The burgers were yummy, the crowd was young and fun, and our server was delightful. Did we mention they made the best BBQ sauce outside of the US?

Kaisergarten

We tried to go to this restaurant twice, the first time there was no room and the second time our only option was to sit outside in the cold, with a heat lamp. We figured if it was that crowded on the inside it must be good, and it was. In addition to the heat from the lamp, we were warmed by hearty German dishes and wine. This would definitely be a place we would keep going back to if we lived in Munich.

Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n

In need of a brezel (pretzel), weisswurst and mustard experience we went to Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n. Everything we had there was very tasty and Stephanie (the pretzel hater) was won over by this Munich tradition. It turns out all she needed was really yummy mustard to go along with her pretzel. Who knew?

Seerose

We always find ourselves searching out good Italian food wherever we go, and we were able to find Seerose based on a local’s recommendation. It was perfect. We had breakfast and lunch here, and Bryan was able to practice his Italian (nothing makes him happier). A cornetto with marmellata and a stunning cappuccino took us back to Sicily...bravo Seerose!

 

Coffee/Cafe

Espresso am Viktualienmarkt

While in the market we were needing some caffeine to keep going, and the most delicious smell pulled us into this small stand. The coffee was brilliant and exactly what we needed to be reenergized. Great espresso blend and a perfectly pulled shot!

Aroma Kaffeebar

This was probably our food/drink highlight in Munich. Everything was perfect. The staff was delightful, the coffee was delicious, the pastries were spectacular, the interior was beautiful and the crowd was really pleasant. The only thing we would change is the location...is it possible to move an entire cafe from Munich to Oakland?


Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Langenlois, Linz, and Munich

November 13, 2012 by steph

This autumn we traveled to Europe for our inspiration trip. This year's forcus was on Germany, Austria and a side trip to Czech Republic. We had an amazing time in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Langenlois, Linz, and Munich. I hope you enjoy our travel stories and tips in our Things We Like section of our website.

Below are moments we captured on the trip and we want to share them with you as desktop wallpapers. I hope they inspire you as they inspired us. Feel free to use as wallpaper for your iPad, iPhone or desktops.

Berlin, Germany

Reichstag

Reichstag

East Berlin Railway

East Berlin Railway

Neue National Gallery in Berlin Mies van der Rohe

Neue National Gallery in Berlin by Mies van der Rohe

 

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Metro

Prague Metro Escalator

Prague Vltava River

Prague Vltava River

 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Metro Mural

Vienna Metro Mural

Vienna Schönbrunn Palace

Vienna Schönbrunn Palace

 

Langenlois, Austria

Langenlois blue wall

Langenlois blue wall

Langenlois vineyard

Langenlois vineyard in the Kamptal

 

Linz, Austria

Linz Danube River

Linz Danube River

Linz Ars Electronica Center

Linz Ars Electronica Center

 

Munich, Germany

Munich Underground Marienplatz Station

Munich Underground Marienplatz Station

Munich Nymphenburg Palace woods

Munich Nymphenburg Palace woods

Innovative Linz

November 11, 2012 by steph

Linz

Linz is the third largest city in Austria, and while it has an industrial and manufacturing history, it is also extremely innovative as one of the leading cultural centers in Austria. It was even named the European Capital of Culture in 2009. We both felt it came across as a very livable, approachable and interesting city.

 

Museums and Sights

Ars Electronica

This center for electronic arts houses six floors of creative work from hi-tech laboratories all over the world. It is absolutely the most interactive museum (for kids and adults) that we have ever been to. Everything was really fun and the 3-D video exploring the universe was exciting and informative.

Lentos

This gallery of contemporary art is also a striking piece of architecture on the Danube River. Sadly, the museum was closed while we were in Linz, but we enjoyed the building while partaking in a meal outdoors at their restaurant/cafe.

Churches

We went on a stroll through the city from beautiful church to beautiful church and each one had interesting and unique elements. Some churches were very ornate while others possessed a simple gracefulness. We found the walk and churches to be a rejuvenating way to spend an afternoon.

 

Food and Drink

Lentos Restaurant-Cafe-Bar

We loved sitting outside the Lentos and enjoying a tasty meal along the Danube. They had fantastic beer, comforting food, a stunning view and the weather was great. We would have loved to be able to go in the Lentos, but this was a great consolation prize.

Die Donauwirtinnen

If we could have any restaurant in our neighborhood in Oakland, we would love it to be Die Donauwirtinnen. The restaurant and staff were charming, the food and drink were exactly what we love, and the dessert and coffee were a perfect end to the evening. Two huge thumbs up for this place.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Cafe Traxlmayr

We came here for the Linzer Torte and it was very good. We actually are hoping to look up a recipe for this Christmas because Stephanie is convinced it is the perfect December dessert.

Schloss Café

The food and coffee here were fine, maybe even good, but the view was out-of-this-world fantastic. Up above the city and overlooking the river, we enjoyed breathing in the fresh fall air and of course resting our legs after the hike up the hill.

 

Lodging

Landgraf Hotel & Loft

This was a nice hotel with nice rooms, but what we loved was the super tasty breakfast, the lovely morning staff, and the excellent location right next to the Ars Electronica Center.

Charming Langenlois

November 10, 2012 by steph

Langenlois

This charming town was delightful to walk through, is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and has the bragging rights to some pretty incredible wines.

 

Museums and Sights

Loisium World of Wine

This museum was the biggest surprise of our trip! We thought a wine museum couldn’t be informative and fun, that you really just go for the tasting at the end. We were so wrong. The Loisium museum is very informative about process and history, has a variety of interactive opportunities and filled with beautiful artwork, design, mindblowing installations and even a water show! Of course the tasting at the end is a pretty nice way to end a museum visit.

 

Food and Drink

Restaurant Vineyard

We had dinner here, which included very good soups, salads and wine. However, the best part about this restaurant is the breakfast (you probably need to be staying at the hotel to get it). It is the kind of European breakfast buffet you dream of, Stephanie still wakes up dreaming about it. It literally had everything you could want and more: beautiful austrian breads, soft stinky cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, omelets, homemade jams, delicate honeycomb, pretty pastries, etc. The bread really is so delicious there, it is almost worth a hop over the pond.

Weinschlössl

This place was sooooo charming and our server was incredibly accommodating. We ate Austrian meats and comfort dishes complimented by fantastic local wine. It was the perfect end to a delightful day in Langenlois. The heuriger (wine-tavern) really is a genius concept.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Rathauscafé

Rathauscafé was a sweet little cafe where locals go for a nice cup of coffee, pleasant conversation and very good pastries. They had the most flavorful and moist cake we ate while in Austria.

 

Lodging

Loisium Wine Spa Resorts

When at Loisium Wine Spa Resort, we kept on thinking how very lucky we were to be staying in such a beautiful hotel in such a gorgeous part of the world. The design of the hotel is really spectacular and there are thoughtful details everywhere you look. Then you step outside and see the pool with stunning vineyards as a backdrop. It is ridiculously fantastic. If we could spend one week relaxing anywhere in the world this would be at the top of the list.

Historic Vienna

November 8, 2012 by steph

Bryan came into Vienna with the flu, which could easily taint the memory of a city. While it did make for a slow and rough start, we ended up being able to find a lot of things to enjoy. We hope that someday we can go back and visit feeling 100%, but until then we will reminisce about the fun things we did, remember our awesome hotel that got us through the hard days, and be thankful that you can’t smoke in cafes in California. (flu + smoke = unhappy Sicilian American guy)

 

Museums and Sights

Upper Belvedere

The Upper Belvedere palace was the perfect location to the view the splendor of the Jubilee Exhibition: 150 Years of Gustav Klimt. The show presented a look into Klimt’s personal family history, his development as an artist, and some of the most moving work from his Golden Phase. His work really is even more captivating in person. We also loved the Belvedere gardens that provided relaxation and a beautiful view of the skyline of Vienna.

Learn more about the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

21er Haus

The 21er Haus is a fantastic modernist building that focuses on Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. We enjoyed their collection well as their exhibition BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability. This special exhibition examines stress, depression, and burn out that is connected to our current inability in society to differentiate between work and leisure. The videos, installations and sculptures reminded us of our own struggle and desire to create a work/life balance.

Learn more about the exhibit BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability.

MAK (Museum for Applied Arts)

The Museum for Applied Arts is a dream for any designer. They house textiles, metal works, graphic arts, glass, ceramics, furniture and cutting edge special exhibitions. We spent the majority of our time exploring three fantastic special exhibits. The largest show, MADE 4 YOU, looked at design from a social, ecological, and cultural perspective. It focused on sustainable and successful design for the future, Design for Change. One of the coolest things they had on exhibit was early Apple Computer prototypes from legendary German Californian product designer, Hartmut Esslinger.

The Committee of Sleep was an intriguing installation from taliaYsebastian that explored innovative uses of freely available energy sources. THINGS. plain & simple traced the simplicity of design found in European and Asian art history. This is the kind of museum we could spend an entire day in, from opening until closing.

Learn more about the exhibit MADE 4 YOU.
Learn more about the exhibit The Committee of Sleep.
Learn more about the artists taliaYsebastian.

Schönbrunn Palace

Our last day in Vienna we went to Schönbrunn Palace and spent our time exploring the gardens, climbing up to the Gloriette and touring the beautiful summer palace. While we still don’t understand the obsession with Empress Sisi, it provided an interesting look into the Habsburgs and was a wonderful place to enjoy a pretty day.

 

Food and Drink

Dots TwentyOne

We found this restaurant at the 21er Haus and enjoyed some tasty Pho and a vietnamese salad in the beautiful sunshine outside. It was also a wonderful surprise to find the delicious Austrian Trumer Pils on the menu (which also happens to be brewed in Berkeley). We enjoyed celebrating the Austrian connection to our home in the East Bay.

Österreicher im MAK

This meal of modern Viennese cuisine was a fantastic way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. The food was delicious and the location was beautiful. We voted Bryan’s plate of venison the most stunning dish of the trip…perfection.

Naschmarkt

We went to the Naschmarkt one evening to get dinner and found ourselves overwhelmed with the variety of options. In the end we decided we were in desperate need of some falafel sandwhiches and fries (we ate a lot of falafel on this trip) and enjoyed a flavorful dish from a fun and fiesty spot. This energetic market area would be a great place to go back to multiple times.

Halle

We wish we could only say wonderful things about this place because it was so promising. We loved the vibe, the crowd, the decorations, the drinks, but there are two issues that kept it from being good. The biggest problem is that they totally lost our ticket and we waited over an hour for our food. The second problem was that our meals were not what we envisioned or really wanted when ordering (we were trying to order healthy...a bad idea on a trip). Double disappointment. All the other food looked spectacular and our waiter apologized with free drinks. We will hope that we just got unlucky.

Pizza Mari

After a cold rainy day, we were a bit grumpy and in need of food that would comfort our souls. So of course we wanted pizza. Good pizza. Awesome pizza made by Italians. Pizza Mari. They make pizza the way it should be made, create some delicious panna cotta and serve perfect espresso. Italy we love you and so does Vienna.Oh and the best thing was they did not allow smoking inside the restaurant. Perhaps the rest of Vienna can take note: Vietato fumare!

 

Coffee/Cafe

Let’s get this out there, we cannot think of a way to say this nicely, we do not get the Viennese coffeehouse and the reputation that it is something people need to experience. Maybe we picked the wrong places, maybe we picked the wrong drinks, maybe we picked the wrong desserts, but everything was just....okay. We don’ t mean to offend, and we do like that you can hang out for hours reading every possible German language paper that exists, but for a place that is supposed to have one of the oldest coffee cultures in the western world, we felt like it should knock our socks off. Socks are still completely on. But we will try to focus on the positives.

Cafe Museum

We really did enjoy the apple strudel here, warm apples and flaky crust, it was good. Bryan especially is a fan of all apple desserts, don’t get him started on his love for the fritter, and it passed his apple standards.

Cafe Demel

Everyone has their opinion on which sachertorte is the best and battles have been waged over the title “The Original Sachertorte”. We think it is just okay. The frosting was the best part, but even that was just so-so. The display case was really pretty (remember we are focusing on positives).

Landtmann’s Parkcafé

Landtmann’s had a great pastry stuffed with nut filling called a nussbeugerl. Stephanie thinks it is the best thing we got at a traditional Viennese cafe, probably because it wasn’t too sweet and it made the coffee more enjoyable. The location was a great place to stop when at Schönbrunn Palace.

 

Lodging

Hotel Daniel

This gorgeously designed hotel really saved us when Bryan was sick. The staff was very helpful, the restaurant/cafe was awesome, our room was super cool and the location next to the Belvedere and public transport was perfect. When we didn’t leave the area for a couple of days we really enjoyed the locally made pastries, their turkish and traditional coffee, the main courses and Stephanie’s personal favorite sturm. Sturm is autumnal semi-fermented grape juice from the first grape harvest of the season, and it is the drink by which she now judges all other drinks.

Our Prague Experience

November 7, 2012 by steph

Prague

When walking around Prague, we kept on saying how much it felt like a movie set for a beautiful historical drama that is full of charming and striking architecture…and then we stumbled across an actual Hollywood action film in progress! It turns out we weren’t the only people recognizing Prague’s cinematic nature. We only wish that we had set aside more time on our trip to explore this magical place with a very creative vibe.

 

Museums and Sights

Dox Center for Contemporary Art

This large modern gallery, formerly a factory, has changing exhibitions and was one of our favorite experiences interacting with art on this trip. In addition to spectacular work from national icon, Karel Nepraš (sculptural and graphic art), Čestmír Suška (sculptural objects), and Veronika Psotková (sculptural objects), we were able to enjoy a very special and rare early screening of the documnetary, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. It was a very memorable day for us, full of incredibly thoughtful and thought provoking work.

Learn more about the artist Karel Nepraš.

Learn more about the artist Čestmír Suška.

Learn more about the artist Veronika Psotkov.

Learn more about the film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present.
 

Veletrzni Palace

This museum houses a permanent exhibition of 20th and 21st century art as well as temporary exhibitions. The architecture and collection were very interesting, but we were especially in love with the temporary exhibitions. The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha depicts a stylized history of the Slavic people and is impressive in both scale and technique, while Brazilian artist, Amalia Giacomini’s linear driven work focused on the presence of space and boundaries.

Learn more about Alfons Mucha - The Slav Epic.

Learn more about the artist Amalia Giacomini.

 

Food and Drink

Lokal

It may have been a bit too smoky in Lokal, but the food was delicious and the beer even better. The interior was very fun, our waiter was extremely helpful and we appreciated the bartenders attention to keeping everything tidy and shiny.

Kozlovna

The kitchen was closed when we arrived (bummer), but we were able to enjoy Czech beer in a festive and thoughtfully designed place. By the way, the beer in this country really is spectacular, the rumors were not exaggerated.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Cafe Louvre

We came for the historically beautiful interior and a coffee break, but once we sat down we decided a meal was in order. Bryan was excited to try out the Czech style goulash in hopes that he would be reminded of his childhood. It turns out American goulash is very Americanized (surprise), and Czech goulash is very tasty. Also, we fell in love with dumplings...we are thinking a winter dumpling party could be a lot of fun.

Kavárna Obecní dum

This Art Nouveau cafe is truly beautiful, and despite coffee that was just okay, we enjoyed the views and experience. We especially loved touring around the Municipal house afterwards and taking in all of the details.

 

Lodging

Boat Hotel Matylda

A hotel on a boat with doors that open onto the Vltava river; this hotel was a perfect fit to the magical city of Prague. We watched a stunning sunset, woke up to swans outside our door and loved walking back along the river at the end of a full day. The staff was helpful, the breakfasts were good and we even enjoyed a nice Italian dinner in their restaurant.

We loved Berlin

November 5, 2012 by steph

Mazzarello Media and Arts - Berlin - Instagram

We loved Berlin. It was close to perfect. So perfect we thought about looking up how much it would cost to rent a place and wondered how hard it would be to work remotely indefinitely. Alas, we can’t move there (not now at least), but we remember it all fondly and hope to return someday.

Museums and Sights

Reichstag

The Reichstag building is the meeting place for the German parliament and its glass dome has a wonderful 360-degree view of Berlin. The informative audio guide gives a great introduction to the city and its layout, and provided an excellent and stunning start to our trip in Berlin.

Berlin Wall Memorial

The memorial along Bernauer Strasse informs and reminds visitors about the time of the division of Berlin and Germany. The history is explained through stories, sculptures and a remnants of the wall that provide a tangible impression of how family, friends and city were divided. We found it both informative and moving, and when standing next the wall with border strip and watchtower we were overcome with silence.

Hamburger Bahnhof

The Hamburger Bahnhof is a former railway station that now serves as a museum for modern and contemporary art. In addition to Kiefer, Rauschenberg and Warhol, we found some challenging and intriguing temporary exhibitions, and enjoyed Dan Flavin’s colorful light installations.

Bauhaus Archive/Museum of Design

The museum takes a thorough look at the history and influence of the Bauhaus movement through its collection of art pieces, items, documents and literature from the Bauhaus School. We really enjoyed seeing the broad spectrum of work from students and masters and listening to the audio guide’s insight into the school and its members. It was perfect for a Bauhaus geek like Bryan.

DDR Museum

This interactive museum shows everyday life in East Germany, also known as the GDR. The cars, clothes, music, homes and other elements of life in East Germany are displayed and through “hands-on” experiences you are able to step back in time and learn in an innovative way. If the movie Goodbye Lenin could be turned into a museum, it would look like the DDR Museum. They were able to walk the line between serious and humorous, sad and ridiculous, which is a very, very difficult task.

East Side Gallery

This gallery is a portion of the east side of the Berlin Wall and has 105 paintings by artists from all over the world. As one walks alongside it, you can’t help but think about those who experienced the change of this wall from something that was created to contain to something that now serves to inspire. The variety to the work reminds us of freedom from past control and the need to remember the past but continue to look forward.

Martin-Gropius-Bau

The Martin-Gropius-Bau is a beautiful hall that originally was a museum of applied arts and now hosts high quality temporary exhibitions. We were able to see two very different, but equally interesting shows about Dennis Hopper and Olympia. The exhibitions were presented brilliantly and we can now say we have a much greater understanding of Dennis Hopper’s creativity and the surprising mystical origins of the Olympics.

Dennis Hopper - The Lost Album

Olympia: Myth - Cult - Games in Antiquitiy

KW Institute

KW Institute is a contemporary art institution that has no permanent collection, it instead focuses energy on innovative exhibitions and creative programming. We happened to be in Berlin at the time of Wael Shawky’s exhibition Al Araba Al Madfuna, and were blown away by the quality, scale and thoughtfulness of the work. He is a storyteller and artist that draws you into his narratives, and then shows the connection of past and present.

Wael Shawky

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom is Berlin’s Cathedral and we were able to attend their vespers service in a week that had been full of museums and photography from the moment we woke up. We were reminded that the best time to visit any cathedral or church while traveling is for a service where one can fully experience the intent of the space, instead of just looking around and snapping photos. Taking time to slow down and contemplate is just as important when we travel.

Food and Drink

Weinstein

This is the kind of place I would want to go on any rainy night. It is cozy and warm, the food is delicious and the wine recommendations are spot on. They were down to earth and helpful (since our German is extremely limited), and it is the only restaurant we went back to on our entire trip. We are still dreaming of their charcuterie and wine.

Café am Neuen See

A lovely lakeside location in Tiergarten where we enjoyed tasty soup and flammkuchen with refreshing beer. They have a biergarten and restaurant, making it perfect for a warm day or cold evening, and after going to Munich we would say it feels like a bit of Bavaria in Berlin.

Witty´s Organic Food

A great place to consume bio currywurst, fries and beer. I don’t think we will be attempting to make currywurst at home anythime soon, but we still found it a intriguing combination that we can imagine one would get a craving for. Sidenote: as a people who really don’t like mayonnaise, we love fries and mayo when in Europe, why is that?

Pratergarten

A restaurant and biergarten that serves up really big and super yummy beers. Sadly we came right before closing (no food) on a cold evening (no one outside), but we would love to be at this place on a warm summer evening. Who’s ready to go back to Berlin? Us!!!

Markthalle Neun

The market hall reminded us of the San Francisco Ferry Building, with beautiful food items, but smaller and more charming. We wanted to buy everything, but stuck to lunch from one vender and pastries from another. The massive crowd did result in a long wait, but the food was fantastic and unique. I only wish we had more room in our stomachs to try additional items. Did we mention we would love to go back to Berlin?

Zweistrom

Rachel and Michael, our awesome Airbnb hosts, recommended this place if we were craving falafel wraps. We were in need of something vegetarian, but satisfying and were crossing our fingers there would be some spiciness (we were going through salsa withdrawals). Zweistrom delivered everything we wanted and more. Thanks R&M.

Mogg & Melzer

This joint brings New York food culture to Berlin, and as west coasters who rarely enjoy good pastrami we were pulled in by the delicious smells and design of the space. The food really was fantastic and the architecture of the building (Jüdische Mädchenschule) is definitely worth the trip as well.

Anna Blume

We heard brunch was big in Berlin, and it turns out brunch is really big in Berlin. At Anna Blume we ordered the special for two which was more food than we could dream of eating (meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, vegetables, fruits, jams), but it was all very good. It was also fun to experience the charm of Prenzlauer Berg at this buzzing location that made for a great last meal experience in Berlin.

Coffee

Berlin coffee culture was absolutely fantastic, and to be honest led us to feel a bit disappointed with any coffee we had on the rest of the trip. Sorry Vienna coffee houses. A few of our favorites include:

Bonanza Coffee Roasters

Roasters that make a mean espresso. It appears to be a place everyone wants to be on a lovely sunny afternoon.

No Fire No Glory

A delicious flat white and lovely place to sit outside on a beautiful fall day.

Godshot

Lovely people, relaxing vibe and good taste in music. Oh yeah, delicious coffee and pastries to go along with it.

Cafe Fleury

Cafe au lait and delicious pastries. Best place to spend a Saturday breakfast/brunch and relax.

Lodging

Recycled Design Apartment Berlin

We loved loved loved this place, the charming Prenzlauer Berg and the owners, Rachel and Michael. They design beautiful furniture and have great recommendations for restaurants, museums and anything else you can think of. They quickly felt more like friends than hosts, and were thoughtful to buy us a bottle of sparkling wine for our anniversary and coffee and pastry during a morning hang out. If we could go back to Berlin, we would definitely stay at the Recycled Design Apartment. Honestly, we would live there permanently if we could.

Inspired to create

November 11, 2011 by steph

Venice

Italy’s financial problems are all over the news, but our news about Italy is that we were reminded of how wonderful it is. A country that is full of culture, creative people and fantastic food.

Last month we traveled for two weeks in northern Italy. This trip was all about being inspired to create. To fill ourselves with visuals that would stimulate our designs and artwork. To see beauty and then come back home to create it. By our estimation the trip was a success in a variety of ways. We are creating on our computers, on canvas, with the camera and in the kitchen.

Here are a few of the things that inspired us while we were abroad, and we look forward to showing you our newest creations very soon.

Italian Cinema

November 11, 2011 by steph

Something is lovely about black and white photography. It tells a story in a way that color doesn’t. Through simplicity it explains complex ideas. I always find myself looking at black and white photos longer than color images. Maybe my eyes are less overwhelmed? Maybe there is something intangible that black and white images convey?

I feel the same way about film. I especially find myself visually drawn to the films of the 40’s-60’s in Italy. Their artistry. Their storytelling. The raw way in which they were shot. When I think of Antonioni (L'Avventura), Fellini (La Strada, 8 1/2), Rosselini (Roma, Città Aperta), De Sica (Ladri di Biciclette), just some of the filmmakers that led the way in Italian cinema, I wish I could see the world through their eyes. Through their cameras.

The wallpapers we include here are paying respect to the filmmakers who opened the eyes of the world to the beauty of Italy, film and art.

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

In Love with Piadine

November 9, 2011 by Steph

LambruscoThe Italian cuisine is known and loved all over the world. It is comfort food that is delicious, fresh and seasonal. Even the pickiest of eaters won’t turn down fresh pasta or perfectly cooked pizza. It is our absolute favorite, and after this recent trip we fell more deeply in love with the cibo of Italy.

The exciting thing about Italian food is how regional it is. In Emilia Romagna you must try “this”. In Veneto “this”. In Lombardy you cannot forget to sample “that”. Each place we went there was food and wine that came from down the street and recipes that didn’t leave the province.

The following are some of our favorite food and drinks that we truly enjoyed for the first time on our trip. For the items that cannot be replicated at home or found in a great restaurant, we recommend finding a way to make it to Italy. It’s worth it.

Tigelle and Gnocco Frito

I don’t feel I can really do tigelle and gnoccho frito justice. The are bread. Tigelle is round and flat. Gnoccho frito is rectangular, fried and puffy. One takes these breads and fills them with creamy cheeses, hard cheese, lardo (yes I wrote lardo), prosciutto, salami there is no wrong combination we could find. Although everyone has personal favorites. You drink lambrusco with them (see below). They are simply delicious.

PiadinaPiadine

Imagine very thin flat bread sandwiches filled with all of your favorite fresh and local ingredients. A bread that is so thin it lets the products between its two pieces shine bright, and yet you still find yourself loving the bread in all of its tortilla thinness. What do you want on it? Roast beef, arugula, grana padano, tomato...here you go. Prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and squacquerone cheese...great. A sandwich, but so much more.

Spritz

Warm weather begs for a refreshing drink. In the past I would have said the margarita (or a ver cold beer) is the answer to this need. This is no longer the case. The spritz is lovely, thirst quenching and makes me want to eat a bunch of salty treats. It is made of wine, bitters (Campari or Aperol) and carbonated water. We have made it the official drink of summer in the Mazzarello home, and I am pretty sure we will find a way to enjoy it this winter as well.

Tortellini in Brodo

This is the dish that changed my life. I know that is a dramatic thing to say. Who says that about little pieces of pasta filled with meat and floating around in a thin broth? I do. I say it proudly. This was my Ratatoulle moment. The moment where childhood slammed into the present and I could imagine myself as a small Italian girl coming home to a steaming bowl of Tortellini in Brodo. This is Mario Batali’s recipe that I am hoping to try, please invite me over if you make it at home.

LeonardiLambrusco

The idea of drinking a sparkling red wine seemed silly to me at first. Sparkling wines should be light in color. I should be able to see the bubbles. Now I am trying to convince Bryan that we have to have a party and only serve Lambrusco so that everyone else can see how tasty it is. We had it at almost every meal while in Emilia Romagna, and it went with every single bite.

Balsamic Vinegar

The good stuff. I mean the really good stuff. The kind of vinegar that will change your view of all vinegar, and make you feel like someone has been keeping a secret from you for your entire life. I am sure that there are other great brands out there, but we have to recommend trying Leonardi balsamic if you can find it. After perfecting it for four generations, they have mastered their craft! Our cousin works there, we saw the process of how they make it, and now we can’t use anything else.

 

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Glimpses of Italy 2

October 19, 2011 by bryan

We are still processing our RAW images from our trip to Italy this autumn, so while you wait we wanted to share more desktop wallpapers to give a glimpse of our travels from our iPhone 4 Instagram images.

For those of you that already follow us on Instagram, we hope these photomontages include some of your favorites. If you don't currently use the Instagram app, you should check it out because it is an awesome and quick creative outlet. 

Enjoy the images from Sirmione, Rimini, Modena, Bologna, Milano, Venezia and more.
 

Northern Italian Textures

Sirmione and Rimini

Emilia-Romagna Italy

Venice, Italy

Verona, Italy

Milan, Italy

Glimpses of Italy

October 12, 2011 by bryan

We are back from our trip to Italy with inspired minds, satisfied stomachs and anticipating going through all of our photographs from our trip.

While we would love to edit all of our 1,400 RAW images and upload some gorgeous wallpapers, there is also a lot of emails to go through and designing to be done around the studio. 
 
Since those photos may take a bit of time, we want to give a glimpse of our travels from our iPhone 4 Instagram images. For those of you that already follow us on Instagram, we hope these photomontages include some of your favorites. If you don't currently use the Instagram app, you should check it out because it is an awesome and quick creative outlet. 
 
We promise some lovely large images will be coming to decorate your computers' backgrounds, but until then we hope you enjoy these little beauties. Enjoy the images of the flavor, travel and art of Italy.
 

Taste Italy

Travel in Italy

Art in Italy

A Necessary Interruption

September 16, 2011 by bryan

Paris Metro

As a graphic design studio and a married couple that pretty much spends 24/7 together we found it was important to build a necessary interruption into the rhythm of our lives. That break serves as a milestone in our year and allows us to focus on a goal and build momentum towards it. 

Rather than have our time be marked by the fiscal year or chronological year, we measure time by these times of reflection and refueling. we don’t know what this will look like for us in 5 years but for the last decade we have spent these breaks refueling and devouring creative inspiration while traveling.
 
As professional creatives we have found it to be important that we refuel ourselves with inspiration. That time of refueling and inspiration refills our creative tanks that we draw from each and every day for our clients. We first do this on a micro level by working Monday through Thursday and reserving Fridays for reading design magazines like HOW and Communication Arts, hikes in the redwoods and visits to museums. We hold memberships at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Oakland Museum of California.
 
On a more grand level each year we set aside 2-5 weeks to travel abroad. Why travel? Why not something else? When we travel something amazing happens. Our eyes are opened, our minds expanded and we dream greater than we had before. We then can draw from the inspiration throughout the rest of the year.
 
Travel exposes us to many forms of creativity that touch all our senses. 
  • Languages are very stimulating to our ears, mouth, and mind.
  • Signage, art, and architecture are very stimulating to our eyes. 
  • Food stimulates our palate.
Here are some highlights from the last 2 years:
  • Swimming in the Tyrannian Sea of the north coast of Sicliy
  • Viewing the The Caixa Forum Museum in Madrid
  • Evening vespers at Christ Church Oxford
  • Fica (afternoon coffee and pastries) in Stockholm gardens
  • Wandering the passages of the Paris Metro
  • Evening sunset view from Lisbon’s hilltop Castelo de São Jorge 
  • Dazzling ceiling and windows in Barcelona’s Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
  • Majestic beauty of Cordoba’s Alcazar
  • Visiting the Mazzarello cemetery in Naso, Sicily
  • Taking a boat through Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront in Copenhagen.
This year we look forward to our inspiration trip to northern Italy.
 
  • The plan is to stay 5 nights with my cugina Sylvie at Acetia Leonardi, a 5th generation balsamic vinegar estate in Modena, Emigla-Romana, land of Ferrari and Masarati, Parmesan cheese, and Ragu alla Bolognese. 
  • Then off to the Veneto to explore the crumbling walls and wander the canals of Venice where we hope to photograph about 4GB of ancient textures. 
  • From there we head to “fair Verona”, to see its artistic delights and witness the majesty of the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans. The city has been awarded world heritage site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. 
  • Lastly, we will go to Milan, the capital of Lombardy and the commercial capital of Italy. Not only will we get to see Leonardo Da Venci’s The Last Supper, but we will also be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary in Milan.
 
To view some direct inspiration view out Photography portfolio:
 
Download our desktop wallpapers:

Miami Continued (3)

June 20, 2011 by bryan

The Miami series continues with this final group of images, along with ones that we released in the last two weeks, representing all of the different elements we loved in Miami. Since one style couldn’t show all that Miami has to offer, each weeks’ images have their own distinct look. Enjoy our version of Miami Fusion.

Miami

Miami

Miami

Miami

Miami

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Miami Continued (2)

June 9, 2011 by bryan

The Miami series continues, along with ones that we released last week, showing all of the different elements we loved in Miami. Since one style couldn’t represent all that Miami has to offer, each weeks’ images have their own distinct look.

Miami

Miami

Miami

Miami

Miami

Miami

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Miami Fusion

June 1, 2011 by bryan

Bryan recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild’s Annual Conference in Miami on the topic of branding and design. (You can read his blog entry to find out more about the topics he discussed). While we were there we were inspired by the beauty and diversity of Miami. It was a city that felt futuristic and classic, full of nature and design, with something to look at around each corner.

We went to restaurants that are classics like Versailles Restaurant, and exciting new places, like Sustain. The charming beaches on Key Biscayne were lovely next to the excitement of the downtown glass skyscrapers and bustling South Beach. At each location we heard new languages and accents and were surrounded by people of every age. Everything about it was absolutely wonderful, except it would have been perfect about 10-15 degrees cooler (we are from the Bay Area after all).

These wallpapers, along with ones that we release over the next few weeks, represent all of the different elements we loved in Miami. Since one style couldn’t represent all that Miami has to offer, each weeks’ images will have its own distinct look. Enjoy our version of Miami Fusion.

paper

paper

paper

paper

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Belle Rocce

February 7, 2011 by bryan

This wallpaper image comes from our photography in Sicily. The title is "Belle Rocce" which means Beautiful Rocks in Italian.

The main photo was taken at the edge of the ancient city of Cefalu, October 2010 on our last trip to Sicily. The week we were there the weather was unseasonably stormy and the Tyrrhenian Sea was extremely rough. Normally the sea is as calm as Lake Tahoe so it was a rare sight to see the water beating against the craggy rocks.

Sicilian Rocks

Memories of Portugal

December 2, 2010 by bryan

Each year we try and take time away from the office to refill our creativity reservoirs. This October Stephanie and I spent a month traveling in Sicily, Spain and Portugal.

When in Portugal we fell in love with the beauty of its buildings, subways, nature, food and people. The variety and contrasts are what made it especially beautiful...organic natural beauty in the middle of the city, crumbling walls across the street from gorgeous contemporary architecture, a night life enjoyed by all ages, a country full of history that is pushing creativity forward.

In Lisbon we immediately felt at home, and our only regret is that we didn't spend more time there (well it would have been nice if the rain came down a little bit softer too). It is the city we would return to right now if we could.

In Lagos the jagged rocks jumping out of the green sea made us look forward to further explorations of this stunning coastline. We thought of the great explorers setting sail not knowing what would lay ahead, and found ourselves wondering why one would want to leave all of that beauty behind.

We miss you Portugal...your vinho verde, bacalhau, Pasteis de Nata and most importantly all of your wonderful charm around every turn.

Enjoy these desktop wallpapers and besure to share them with your friends and family. Just click the image to view the full size.

Lagos, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Sevilla Graffiti

November 17, 2010 by bryan

Sevilla Graffiti

One of our favorite things about travel is seeing new things. When we walk through streets of new cities there are always compositions, images, scenes that grab for our camera's attention. We cannot explain why but we see common themes once we get home and process our images. In this case after we returned home to the design studio after a month of travel on the Ibernian Penisnula we noticed that our eye was drawn to street art and graffiti. This image was capurted along the Guadalquivir River. We process it in Photoshop and played off of the geomatic shapes and added drop shadows for more depth.

Download the wallpaper for your desktop (1920px X 1200px).

Learning in Europe

November 11, 2010 by bryan

We are back in the driver seat after almost a month traveling in the Mediterranean. This year we focused on Portugal and Spain with a side trip to my family’s homeland, Sicily.

It is amazing how draining creating can be. Especially when you are running the business and designing. The remedy we found is intentional travel. Inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TED Talk we decided to take an annual month long sabbatical. Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. Watch his TED talk and be inspired yourself.


Last year Stephanie and I spent a month traveling England, Sicily, Denmark, Sweden and Paris. This year we decided to focus on the Iberian Peninsula and see what Portuguese and Spaniards are doing.

We had thought about travel in Portugal before but after reading Communication Arts 2010 May/June Illustration Annual 51 which features the energetic design scene in Portugal, we were confirmed in our interest. Read the article (PDF).

We also have been hearing and seeing good things from our web design colleague and local Lisbon boy Hugo Baeta  who we met at An Event Apart SF 2008.

Of course we had to visit Spain as well. So many friends raved about Madrid’s art collection, Barcelona’s modernist architecture and the vibrant Andalusian sites and sounds. We had an incredible and inspiring time. We hope to share with you over the next month memories and photos from our trip. In fact often times our design techniques improve after a trip like this. For example we now have an expanded design vocabulary after researching the incredible art and pattern-work of Moorish artists in Europe.

Another interesting thing to note is our fascination yet again with street art and graffiti. For some reason we kept running across striking graffiti, especially along the riverfront in Seville.

We look forward to continuing to process all that we experienced and investing in into our work for our clients.

View the Sevilla wallpaper

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