But we also wanted to put the spotlight on another talented twosome , Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym of Boym Partners. This designing duo has lived and worked together since 1989, and together they have created some of the most intriguing, clever and strikingly beautiful products in contemporary U.S. design.
We caught up with them to quiz them about how they have managed to pull off 25 years of creative and marital bliss.
What was your first collaboration?
Constantin: It was a project that we made for an IDSA competition called A New Writing Instrument that ended up winning first prize. It was called “Edible Pencils,” and the idea came from people chewing on their pencils.
Laurene: We thought, why shouldn’t one be able to eat the whole pencil? So we made it out of biscotti dough with an edible charcoal as the “lead.” It was a playful and ironic take that ended up getting a lot of attention.
So, then, since you were so successful together you decided to create more things?
L: No! It actually wasn’t an enjoyable experience and we were like “We’re never gonna do this again!” and worked on separate projects for a long time. It wasn’t until 1995 that we started collaborating again.
C: It was unplanned. We were both off doing different things, but I had started designing tableware for the German company Authentics, and Laurene became very engaged in that work. Among other things, we created a collection of plastic containers that became huge mass-market hits and are now included in the permanent design collection at MoMA.
So what is it about your creative chemistry that makes the two of you so good together?
L: We complement each other. We love pop culture and have the same taste and similar empathy. That’s what connected us from the beginning.
C: But we also have differences: I’m from Russia, she’s 100% American; I started as an architect, she has a fine art background. It’s like a band, you need different sounds to come together.
L: We try to have a lot of fun, and not be too serious about our work. We treat a design object like a person, as it has its own character. And since humor is a well-regarded quality in a person, we think it’s a great attribute for an object, too.
How do you separate your life and work?
L: Oftentimes when we speak to other designer couples who collaborate, they complain that they work all the time. You have to get out of your work sphere. We make sure to get out to see movies, theatre, art exhibits. For the work that we do, we have to be in touch with contemporary culture.
C: I also like to follow music and sports—you can’t be 100% locked in to this rarefied design existence. You have to bring the world into your design if you want your design to be part of the world.
It’s a scientific fact as fundamental as gravity. In romance, every yin needs its yang…or in the immortal words of Lady Abdul, opposites attract.
What better time to explore this confounding phenomenon than XOXO—Fab’s celebration of all things d’amour?
SPOILER ALERT: Some totally-saw-it-coming movie romances revealed ahead.
Baby & Johnny
It’s not called Family-Friendly, Sensible, Adequately Clothed Dancing, people. It’s called Dirty Dancing—and Baby is anything but. Yet as soon as she sets eye on Johnny, the rough-and-tumble guy with a heart of gold, an epic love story (and stellar 1980s soundtrack) begins to unfold. A glimmer of goody-goody in Swayze’s hunky gaze might have prevented the passion that pushes Baby past her comfort zone to have—wait for it—the time of her life.
Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley
An uptown girl and a downtown man can only find lasting love in peppy pop songs right? Perhaps, but supermodel sophisticate Christie Brinkley and trouble-prone piano man Billy Joel had a decade-long romance, which is embodied by everyone’s favorite up-tempo tune. Divorce or no divorce, that song is immortal.
Julie & Tootsie
To be fair, these two never actually get together. But unbeknownst to Julie (Jessica Lange), her romance with actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is budding throughout this friendship with Dorsey’s convincing drag persona, Dorothy Michaels.
When all is revealed, Michael aptly summarizes their unlikely love affair: “I was a better man with you, as a woman…than I ever was with a woman, as a man.”
Need we say more?
LiLo & Samantha Ronson
It took everyone’s favorite “mean girl” a while to publicly acknowledge her relationship with the edgy English songwriter-turned-Hollywood DJ. But Ronson’s enigmatic air was a refreshing foil to Lohan’s spotlight-loving persona—and how better to shed that Disney reputation once and for all than trysting with a disc-spinning bad girl?
Kermit & Miss Piggy
Species is just one of the fundamental differences between these two. Personality-wise, they’re like oil and water—Miss Piggy a brash, buxom blonde hog who’s obsessed with fame and Kermit a sweet, submissive amphibian who likes to sing about rainbows and stuff. Still, the two have been inextricably linked since he purportedly set a single webbed foot in her spotlight during a Muppet Show rehearsal in the ’70s.
The state of their relationship has remained dubious at best, but according to MuppetWiki, the two admitted to being together as recently as 2012, on an episode of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Mazel tov, Muppets.
But can true love really be so black-and-white? Check out the Opposites Attract Shop on Fab.
How far would you go for client satisfaction? Today we’re getting to know Kai, a man who loves wood, had his job interview in a maternity ward, and once drove 6 hours to help a customer with assembly.
Who are you?
I’m Kai. I was born in Leer in Germany on the Dutch border and I went to school in The Netherlands, Germany and Fargo, North Dakota. I started working at Fab EU in 2012, when we were only 6 people in the office.
What do you do?
I’m VP of Operations, which at this very moment means that I have to figure out how to help our network of furniture factories cope with all of our orders.
How did you end up doing it?
I was working at IKEA Green, which is its sustainability effort, when my girlfriend started at this small start-up in Hamburg, which was then called Massivkonzept. I knew that the founders had no experience with the furniture business so I offered to give them some advice. After a four-hour meeting with one of the co-founders, in the maternity ward of the hospital where his wife had just given birth, he convinced me to leave IKEA and work with them instead.
Kai’s All-Fab apartment.
What do you love most about your job?
I passionately believe in creating something that lasts and providing an amazing experience for the customer. One of the most interesting challenges I’ve had at Fab has been to perfect the quality of our furniture and to adapt mass production technology to individualized projects. My own house is full of Fab furniture: we have a Fab kitchen, a Fab dining table, a Fab sofa and more. Even though all those designs go beyond the current capabilities of our configuration tools, it was easy to make them happen. I also love when our customers have crazy ideas that we can help them realize.
We’ve heard that you’ve been known to personally drive across the country to help customers in need, can you tell us about it?
Well, there was a situation right before Christmas when a customer had problems with a huge order of very complex shelving units, and our assembly technicians had already gone on break. The customer threatened to cancel the order if it wasn’t resolved before Christmas, so I grabbed a colleague and we got up at 3 am on December 23rd to drive to Frankfurt. It took us eight hours to assemble the shelves, but we got the job done and we were back home in time to celebrate Christmas.
Today on Fab, we’re helping you find Love On The Dance Floor with a collection of fashion, accessories, Pop Art and music-makers. Love at first sight ain’t no thang without a Grade A soundtrack, true? True.
And so, without further ado, we give you our exclusive Love On The Dance Floor Playlist. These are our favorite tunes with “love” in the title, perfect for pregaming, and even better for that Anti-Valentine’s Day Dance Party you’re planning. Now, work it out!