Arts & culture

Love won’t wait

By Cheryl Caira

Shangri-La at the Shard – the multi-tiered haven of luxury atop one of London’s most skyline-dazzling buildings – has formed a reputation for great cultural collaborations, with the latest focusing on all things amor. Well, it’s one of the few reliable life elements that makes the world go round, so why not give credit where it’s due?

You’ll need to get your skates on to get involved with this lovey-dovey experience though, as you’ve only got until 27th January. The ‘Modern Couples’ experience, in partnership with the Barbican, is inspired by the gallery’s highly-rated exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant Garde. 

Pablo Picasso Portrait de femme,1938 Paris, Centre Pompidou – Musée national d’art modern – Centre de creation industrielle © ADAGP, Paris Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Georges Meguerditchian


Comprehensive and insightful, the exhibition looks at modernism in art spanning the first half of the 20th century with the stories of over 40 artist couples (and in some cases ‘throuples’), with the women in a relationship with men – refreshingly – being given as much focus as their male artistic counterpart.  There’s an array of work on display across painting, sculpture, photography, design and literature, with artist duos that include Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson; Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso; Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí; Lee Miller and Man Ray and Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, Capricorn, 1947 © John Kasnetsis


The whole experience starts inside a luxury room or suite at the Shangri-La Hotel – and those floor-to-ceiling panoramic views will melt even the iciest of hearts. Guests will find a Barbican tote bag with two tickets to the exhibition and a ‘love map’ which guides you on a romantic walk from the hotel to the gallery. After you’ve wandered the exhibition, the experience’s finale back at the hotel involves sitting in one of the city’s best cocktail bars, GŎNGLocated on level 52, you can gaze at London spread out dreamily before you, while you sample concoctions from the ‘Miscellany of Inventions’ menu, which is also an artistic experience in itself. Drinks arrive in hot air balloon glasses, chemistry lab bottles and with creative garnishes like popcorn and edible guitars.

The ‘Modern Couples’ experience includes a one-night stay in a luxurious room or suite; English breakfast for two, served in TĪNG Restaurant and Lounge; two tickets to the Barbican’s Modern Couples exhibition, two cocktails per person in GŎNG Bar, and use of the hotel’s gym and infinity Sky Pool. You can book