Italian fashion designer Valentino (b.1931) and architecture student Giancarlo (b.1938) met in 1960 in Via Veneto, the epicentre of Rome’s Dolce Vita. A unique relationship – although they have now been together for more than 50 years, their romantic relationship ended in 1972. Together they built up the monumental fashion empire which is now synonymous with Italian glamour and luxury the world over. They still live together, conducting what would be described (by the Daily Mail) as a flamboyant and jet set lifestyle (surrounded by their numerous pugs).
American architect Philip Johnson (1906 – 2005) met David Whitney (1939 – 2005), in 1960 at the Rhode Island School of Design. Whitney attended a lecture by Johnson and approached the architect afterwards, asking for a tour of his famous Glass House. Johnson was immediately taken with the talent of the young student, who went on to become a successful art curator, collector, critic, and gallerist. Whitney introduced Johnson to great scions of the art world such as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. The men remained deeply in love until Johnson’s death in 2005. Less than six months later – despite an age gap of more than thirty years – Whitney joined him.
Painter Bernice Alexandra “Ray” (1912 – 1988) was studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan where Charles (1907 – 1978) worked as the head of the design department. Ray assisted Charles in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Furniture Competition and they fell in love. The husband and wife duo have made groundbreaking contributions to the development of modern architecture, furniture and industrial design, and the photographic arts. Their most well-known designs is the Eames Lounge Chair – one of the 20th Century’s most iconic pieces of furniture. Read more about them here.
Berlin born photographer Newton (Helmut Neustädter, 1920 – 2004) met Alice (real name June Browne, b.1923) in Melbourne in 1947. He had recently opened a photo studio in the Australian city and she posed for him as a model. They fell instantly in love. In 1970 June stood in for Newton – who was incapacitated by illness – for a commercial photo shoot in Paris. And so began her own career as a commercial photographer in her own right, under the pseudonym Alice Springs. They lived and worked together until Helmut died in a car crash in 2004.
One of Cubism’s greatest pioneers, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) met the young artist Françoise Gilot (b. 1921) in a restaurant in Paris during World War II. He was 61 and she was 21 and according to Gilot’s, he offered her a bowl of cherries. Their relationship lasted ten years, during which they had two children, Claude and Paloma. In her memoir, Life with Picasso, Gilot describes their relationship as both deeply creative, and also fiery and disruptive. Since the publication of the book in 1964 until his death almost ten years later, Picasso refused to see not only his former love, but also their children.
Love comes in many forms, including furniture. Modern and sleek the Apelle leather rocking chair and the Apelle side table are the perfect contemporary couple.But what about the contrasting lines of the Arena table and the Mafalda chairs ? You wouldn’t think they’d match up, but sometimes – just like in real life – opposites really do attract. Don’t forget: sofas need love too.