Cover Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu of Neri & Hu (Photo courtesy of Space Furniture)

Working and building a life together have resulted in creative alchemy as these four power couples of design can attest to

Partners in life and work, these couples have created impressive bodies of work that have left an indelible mark on the design world. 

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Charles and Ray Eames

The undisputed first couple of American modernism, Charles and Ray Eames began their relationship as colleagues at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where architect Charles and artist Ray, rather fittingly, worked on a chair to submit for a furniture competition. They would go on to design such iconic chairs as the Eames lounge and Eiffel chair, not to mention collaborating with Herman Miller and Vitra to create furniture that are still sought after and used prolifically today.

Although early catalogues list only Charles' name as designer, he had been advocating Ray as an equal partner in their creations. These days, all their designs bear both names. “Anything I can do, Ray can do better,” Ray once said.

Their complementary talents culminated beautifully in the home they build together in the Pacific Palisades known as Case Study House No. 8, or The Eames House. Now considered a landmark of mid-20th century architecture, the house also served as their studio. It sports a glass-and-steel structure that bears Charles' signature, while the interior is full of quirky objets d’art reflective of Ray's tastes.

Charles died in 1978, Ray 10 years later. Nevertheless, their work continue to inspire and are considered the benchmark for many designers.

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Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi are considered one of the most formidable design pairings of the mid-20th century, mostly due to the work that the firm they founded, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA), produced from 1969 to 2012. Eschewing the prevailing modernism of the time for more eclectic, postmodern design principles based on merging historical and modernist references, Venturi famously coined the maxim, "Less is a bore".

 

Venturi and Scott Brown did not just contribute to the postmodern movement, they were front and centre in one of the most significant shifts in architecture of the 20th century with their provocative buildings and urban spaces and seminal books like Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas.

Venturi was awarded architecture's greatest honour, the Pritzker Prize in 1991, a fact that has courted controversy recently as many believe that Scott Brown deserved to share the award. In 2013, following Scott Brown's appearance at the AJ's Women in Architecture event, a petition was started demanding that the Pritzker rectify what many saw to be sexist treatment but was ultimately unsuccessful. 

Both Venturi and Scott Brown retired in 2012 and while Venturi passed away in 2018, Scott Brown continues to present the design work of VSBA as a collaborative effort.

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Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu

Taiwanese American Rosanna Hu and Filipino Chinese Lyndon Neri met as undergraduates at UC Berkely before working together at the design studio of prominent American designer, Michael Graves. Their move to China in the early 2000's was unexpected but serendipitous (they were stranded there because of SARS) yet the design space is all the richer for it.

Incredibly prolific and champions of infusing Asian context, the husband-and-wife team has grown their inter-disciplinary architectural design practice, Neri & Hu to boast an enviable list of clients that read like the who's who of international design. The couple has also been pioneering new era of design in China especially with their work as creative directors of Shanghai-based Stellar Works that smashes the perception that China does little more than just copy.

Their unique ability in blending tradition with modernity, creativity with craftsmanship, is particularly evident in projects like The Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai and Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat: The Brick Wall. They have also designed for Arflex, Moooi and ClassiCon, all available at Space Furniture, to name a few. Neri&Hu is also an award-winning enterprise, most recently honoured at the Madrid Design Awards 2020.

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Ludovica and Roberto Palomba

Ludovica and Roberto Palomba are known as the golden couple of Italian design. Looking at their impressive portfolio and achievements that have spanned more than 25 years, it's not hard to see why. After obtaining their architecture degrees in Rome, the couple founded their studio, Palomba Serafini Associati, in Milan in 1994.

Since then they have been designing products that defy trends. Their work are always based on the philosophy of creating objects that interact in an immediate way with those who choose them, so as to foster an intimate, significant and long-lasting relationship with their users, as testified by the durability of their designs. 

For this, they have received over 70 design awards including the prestigious Compasso D’Oro and Red Dot. They have worked and are art directors for some of the most established brands, ranging from furniture to sanitary fittings such as Bisazza, Cappellini, Dornbracht, Driade, Poltrona Frau, Samsung and Viccarbe.

Most recently, they collaborated with Donatella Versace on Versace Homes' new collection, signifying the fashion brand's embrace of design edge to its storied heritage. 

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