Creative Couples Working Together

Singapore’s Inez & Vinoodh

Who Australian national Elvina Farkas, 24, and her Italian beau Lucas Milone, 30

What they do Both Farkas (mum’s Malay and dad’s Hungarian) and Milone are the creative forces behind Anue Management, a year-old creative and production agency. She’s the fashion and beauty photographer with an eye for dark and raw images, which have appeared in indie titles like The Fashionisto, and Tangent, as well as Australian GQ. He’s the commercial videographer who has shot for clients from Hermes to Pepe Jeans. Their next big project: bringing international creative types to Singapore for gigs and workshops. 

How they met Farkas is a self-taught shutterbug who enrolled in a Melbourne boutique photo studio in 2009 to hone her skills in fashion photography; Milone happened to manage it. “He picked up instantly that I was inexperienced with studio work and jumped right in to teach me the basics,” she says. They struck up a close friendship, he became her assistant and mentor, and the two became an item soon after.

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Farkas’ work tend towards the raw and the dark

Do couples who work together speak, look and behave alike? The two are polar opposites. Be it their dressing (he’s a little preppy, she’s a little hippy) or how they talk (he’s reserved, she’s bubbly) and work (technical and precise for him, and laid-back for her). She says: “What makes us a successful team is how I am the yin to his yang. That and the immense respect we have for each other.” He adds: “Although we are inseparable, our strong personalities let us be our own selves, without becoming a broken record to stuff at the bottom of the pile.”

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An editorial Farkas did for Fault magazine

How they feed off each other’s creativity Milone always seeks her “approval” or opinion when scriptwriting, creating storyboards or selecting shots. “Many ideas get canned – for the better – as her higher knowledge of fashion sets me on the right path. I tend to be too quirky or absurd,” he admits. In turn, he is her lighting guru: Her work with fluorescents, instead of flashes, for example, are due to his influence.

How to ensure no one side is dominant in the creative zone As their work is so intertwined, competition is out of the picture. One rule of thumb though: Farkas takes the lead when it comes to a photo project, while Milone has more creative licence with videos. “We are in a position to have access to our own studio at any time. So when one of us sparks up an idea or concept, we rush there and play with lights and shadows,” says Milone.


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The Million-Dollar Decorators

Who Interior design royalty Gracinha Viterbo, 37, and her hubby Miguel Stucky, 39

What they do She’s creative director, while he is the managing partner of their luxury interior design firm Viterbo ID (founded by her mum and industry legend Graca Viterbo in 1971). The Portuguese couple moved here in 2012 as part of the global expansion of their company, which does VIP homes in Districts 9 and 10, as well as residences from Switzerland to Brazil. These projects are given Viterbo’s signature European-manor-meets-contemporary touch. Some of these lush decors have made the covers of magazines such as Casa Vogue Italia. Viterbo is also behind the decor of over 60 hotels, including Bela Vista Hotel, a chateau in the south of Portugal that made it to The New York Times’ list of must-visit hotels for 2012. She also helmed Hermes’ window displays in Lisbon for two years.

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Rich colours and textures are Viterbo trademarks

How they met They’ve known each other since their teens, but a chance meeting at a New Year’s Eve party in 2000 was when sparks started to fly. They have been together for 15 years and have four kids.

Do couples who work together speak, look and behave alike? They push one another out of their comfort zones – something they have learnt to live with. “Although I still think it would be more fun to learn how to dance the tango, because that’s what we do every day at work,” she quips.

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How they feed off each other’s creativity
They have an entire file dedicated to their ideas for the company, but have no time to go through it “because we are going through other priorities for Viterbo ID, and our clients are always a priority”. Adds Viterbo: “I think people don’t realise the full picture of having a young and growing family with four children under 10 and two full-time working parents (who travel a lot for work and still want to be amazing parents). If we didn’t feed off each other’s creativity and dynamics, this wouldn’t be possible.”

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Marble and monochrome make for a modern feel in the bathroom of a restored palace in northern Portugal

How to ensure no one side is dominant in the creative zone Their differing roles (she heads the creative team while he takes care of business) mean they don’t have to cross swords. “We are pretty much like any other couple, except we get to have lunch together almost every day and spend lots of time together outside of home,” she says.

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The Branding Gurus

Who The arty duo of Michelle Au, 37, and husband Alex Lim, 35

What they do Au co-founded Tofu in 2011 as its creative director. The outfit handles branding, advertising and design projects for companies such as Adidas, hair salon Kizuki+Lim, Matt’s The Chocolate Shop and Scotts Square. Lim is a senior creative at the firm and heads one of the firm’s key accounts.   

How they met The two started as colleagues at a former design studio and were introduced by mutual friends. They’ve been together for six years now and have two-year-old girl.

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A clever mobile installation for the launch of home-grown menswear brand Sundays

Do couples who work together speak, look and behave alike? Possibly when it comes to work ethics and fashion sense. Other than that, they are quite different. Notes Lim: “I find that the longer you know each other, the more you notice the differences.”

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Giving Matt’s The Chocolate Shop its tongue-in-cheek branding

How they feed off each other’s creativity Lim is more tuned in to fashion and pop culture, while Au prefers illustrations and product designs. These are complementary and they each take turns leading the project, depending if the brief matches their forte. “Creativity is essentially an output of curated shared experiences, whether individually or as a team,” says Au. Their most recent baby: the Temporium pop-up in Dunlop Street earlier this year, which housed a store, gallery and diner. “Outside of work, it’s our daughter’s birthday party themes,” jokes Lim.

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The Temporium was a pop-up in Little India

How to ensure no one side is dominant in the creative zone It’s a non-issue, they say, because they each have their own strengths. As Lim puts it: “I’m more creative in strategic problem solving, being more resourceful and when it comes to spontaneity. Michelle’s the one with the bigger imagination.”

This article was originally published in Female August 2014.