This article analyses the teamwork of the architects Karen and Odd Brochmann, who in 1937 established the first «husband and wife» architect’s office in Norway. In retrospect one can see that Karen was placed rather in the shade of her more famous husband, who took over many of their larger building projects, while Karen con- centrated on furniture and interior design. These projects were often referred to as designed by them both, whereas Karen was in fact the designer, while Odd drew the patterns for the intarsia decorations adorning her furniture.
More than a hundred years ago, Karin and Carl Larsson created Sweden’s most famous home, in the village of Sundborn in Dalarna. Today, their home is an essential part of Swedish tradition, but at the time of its building it was considered odd and unconventional. The author reflects on the Larssons’ common design style and how it has been perceived in Swedish design history. It is also analysed in the context of the visual construction of Swedishness from a perspective of whiteness.
The cooperation between the weaver Lis Ahlman and the dyer Ejnar Hansen was essential for the development of textiles in the Danish Modern movement. Ejnar Hansen succeeded his father as the head of the family company in Vejle, Juttland in 1918. He soon became famous for his highly aesthetic, soft and harmonious colour-series. These were based on synthetic colours which he used in combination with his great knowledge about old colours.
Hansen collaborated with several Danish artists, notably Lis Ahlman, in developing furniture fabrics that were simple and durable and in tune with the functionalistic ideas of the time. His inspiration came mainly from old handicraft textiles.
During recent decades, a number of married couples have emerged as innovators within Swedish jewellery art. They include Peter de Wit and Margareth Sandström, Glenn Roll and Maria Elmqvist, and more recently David Taylor and Åsa Lockner. The female jewellery smiths in these couples have claimed as much attention as their male partners. Often more willing to experiment than their husbands, they have approached hard metals in new ways, mixed materials and treated the surfaces with non-tradi-tional methods.
‘Couple design’ is a frequent phenomenon , both among today’s successful fashion designers and historically. Partnership involves a complex interaction between two individuals in close cooperation. Partnerships are dynamic, and it is conceivable that their tensions both contribute to a creative atmosphere and an interesting development process. It can also be experienced as demanding. Partnership can serve as a strong and important part of a creative process, as demonstrated by skilful Swedish fashion designers.
Today several Swedish designers work in groups, and as closely as many ‘designer couples’ have ever done. These collaborations are mainly built on friendship, rather than love. The group members interviewed in this article emphasise that creative teamwork is the most important reason for working in a group. Many of them compare their collaborations, which give them strength and the courage to take on more complex projects, to a good marriage or partnership.