Rene Burri

Back in 1988, when Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winning Luis Barragán passed at the age of eighty-six, he divided his belongings and work in two between a friend and business partner in his will. The first was the task of making an appropriate architectural institution for his library. Architect Ignacio Díaz Morales dutifully fulfilled this assigment, coming up with a foundation that manages Barragán's Mexico City residences, in addition to his library, personal correspondence, and art collection.

The latter was "all author rights" to the expansive archive the architect had created, consisting of documents, movies, drawings, designs, sketches, mockups, and originals of work left to his business partner Raul Ferrera. This portion was not as lucky. Overwhelmed by the legacy of inheriting this work, Ferrera eventually hanged himself, leaving the archive to Barragán's widow. She then sold it to a gallery in SoHo, which was then later acquired by Vitra, the Swiss family-owned furniture company with the famous campus boasting several buildings by famous architects.

The story goes that Rolf Fehlbaum, the head of Vitra, proposed to his then-girlfriend Federica Zanco, an Italian architetural historian, with the archive rather than a traditional wedding ring. Later down the years, when people would try to access the content within the archive, for various reasons such as academic research, Zanco kept it so secret that it developed it's own "gothic love story."

And so, to appease Zanco to make these records more public, and to honor the architect's legacy, American conceptual artist Jill Magid decided to turn Barragán's cremated remains into a diamond—with the blessing of his family—and propose to Zanco.

To read the full story, and see if it worked, head over to The New Yorker.

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