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Couples Who Design Together, Stay Together

Posted by Pete Hicks on 2/14/16 10:00 AM

Valentine’s Day: A time set aside each year for showing appreciation to the person you love the most – a special someone who, for these designers, is their coworker. We asked three couples who run architectural firms together about their favorite aspect of working with their spouse.

The Kwaskes
Ron Kwaske, AIA, and Ilianna Kwaske, Ph.D., combine their talents as an architect and psychologist, respectively, to form Kwaske Collaborative, a unique design studio that addresses a client’s stated and subliminal needs.


Ilianna: "Who needs date night when we work together? Seriously, though, our skills are complementary, so our energies feed off each other. We are constantly inspiring one another, … and it’s been that way for over 20 years. It is such a natural process and an incredible feeling to create something amazing together."

Ron: "The design process can be unending, and you never know when the best ideas are going to come. Because we are partners in both our personal and professional lives, we are able to cultivate the seeds of ideas all of the time. A job well done is the result of doing it together."

Read more about the Kwaske’s work, here.

Barrios and Escudero
Juan Barrios and Mercedes Escudero join forces at their Latin American design firm, BarriosEscudero. The couple strives to create design solutions that are both unconventional and economical, producing structures that are beautiful to see and experience.


Juan and Mercedes: "Sharing our passion for architecture is one of the best things about working with your spouse. Love for design and creativity pass through our lives and enrich them. We enjoy travelling, learning, and sharing moments with our family. In our opinion, designing every detail of each project and having fun with our little daughter have combined to turn our lives into a wonderful game, and it's one of  the best parts of sharing our lives and working together. We love spending time with each other, and in our projects we try to replicate this feeling."

Learn more about how one of Barrios and Escudero’s designs inspired how we demonstrated the new Subdivision Surfaces features in Vectorworks 2016, here.

The Exleys

EXLEY Photo by Tony Smith

Peter and Sharon Exley are the duo behind Chicago-based design firm Architecture Is Fun. Together, these two self-described “playmakers” look at each project as a way to inject fun into daily life. If you want an example of the couple’s playful philosophy, read this poem that they wrote in response to our question: what is the best part about working with your spouse?

Peter takes play seriously.

He says don’t be afraid to be colorful.

She says don’t be afraid to play hard, darling!

He says tell me.

She says draw it for me.

He is the pen to her paper.

She is passion that says pursue.

We are like Thing One and Thing Two,

Together, we look for mischief, play and design disruption.

To read more about the Exleys, check out this case study.

Whether you're designing with someone you love or you just love design, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Topics: Architecture, Ilianna Kwaske, Kwaske Collaborative, Mercedes Escudero, Ron Kwaske, Sharon Exley, Valentine's Day, Architecture Is Fun, BarriosEscudero, Case Study, Community, inspiration, Juan Barrios, Peter Exley, Vectorworks 2016

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