Who can argue that love inspires our creativity? I was always very interested in the dynamics of the relationships between designer duos who are also couples in real life. It is beyond me how designers –and principally architects- could let go of their notorious egos and spend their lives with another designer who would criticize not only them, but also their work. However, as the following iconic designer couples demonstrate, love makes even the design world go round!
Charles & Ray Eames: Probably the most influential designers of all time, who produced iconic contemporary furniture such as the Eames chair. Charles and Ray met in 1940 and they married in 1941, just a few years after Charles had divorced his first wife. Their lives revolved around design as they were in their studio daily, from 9am to 10 pm. After Charles died in 1978, Ray Eames continued to explore the couple’s ideas through talks and writing.
Charles Ray Mackintosh & Margaret MacDonald: Mackintosh met artist Margaret MacDonald at the Glasgow School of Art and they became members of a collaborative group known as “The Four”. It is not known exactly which of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s works Margaret was involved with but she is credited with being an important part of her husband’s designs. After they married in 1900, Mackintosh wrote to Margaret “Remember, you are half if not four-quarters of all my architectural…”. I visited the Mackintosh house in Glasgow and the attention to detail of the bedroom furniture that Mackintosh designed as a gift to his wife suggests his true, deep love for Margaret. As Mackintosh famously said: “Margaret has genius, I have only talent.”
Eero & Aline Saarinen: Eero met Aline when she was the art editor and critic of the New York Times and she was writing a profile on the architectural work of the recently divorced Saarinen. They got married about a year later and Aline became the Head of Information Service at Eero Saarinen & Associates, where she would promote Saarinen’s work to the press.
Robert Charles Venturi & Denise Scott Brown: The American architect and founding principal of the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates together with his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown are highly regarded architects particularly in the academic circles. Their book “Learning from Las Vegas” is one of the most famous architectural books as the vast majority of architectural students has read or used it as a reference. Venturi has also coined the term “Less is a bore”, which was an antidote to the famous modernist dogma “Less is more”.