Have you started panicking about the holidays yet? If so, never fear gentle reader – I have a list of carefully selcted gift ideas that are perfect for the interior design and architecture afficionados on your list. The prices range from $20 up, and naturally there’s plenty of readables. While I don’t have any first hand experience with any of these items, I sure hope to! If you already own any of these items, please share what you think in the comments below!
Let’s start shopping!
1. Lego Architecture Studio
The ultimate in learning toys for grown ups, the Lego Architecture Studio is part of an entire architecture series. But instead of just one iconic building, this is a flexible set consisting of white or clear bricks in different shapes and sizes. It comes with a manual that’s supposed to be well worth reading on its own.
While it’s sold out on the Lego store, you can still buy this on Amazon or EBay for around $250.00. This is not meant for children – it’s aimed at ages 16 and up.
2. Alain de Botton: The Architecture of Happiness
“The Architecture of Happiness” is an exploration of the psychology behind design, architecture and urban planning, and looks at why and how our environments effect our outlooks. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been exploring questions about why the design of things matters, and I’m excited to dive deeper into subject. My understanding is that this book is mercifully architecture jargon free – or at least it’s written accessibly for the lay-person. It’s available on Amazon for less than $20 (paperback).
3. Pantone Mug
Here’s where we take a little detour into the world of graphic design – I’m sure you won’t mind! For those who don’t know, Pantone is the company that has provided a reliable colour matching system since the 1950s. If you’re involved in any aspect of design, from interiors to fashion and especially in print, you’ll be very familiar with their swatch fans.
I found this stylish mug on a British e-store called John Lewis for about $15 – $20. It’s available in a selection of colours, including this lovery green colour called “Mushy Pea”, and (gasp!) a delightful orange colour called “Pumpkin” – with the Pantone number provided as well, naturally!
It looks like John Lewis provides international delivery, but expect extra shipping fees and the inevitable import duties. For the die-hards, it will be worth it!
4. The Complete Zaha Hadid
Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid consistently creates buildings, interiors, and product designs that never fail to thrill me. I am by no means an expert, but I’m enthralled by her mastery of biomorphic shapes. Never mind the jokes about the “yonic” Qatar stadium – even her detractors cannot deny the impact she’s made in architecture.
As a woman in the architecture field, she’s had some barriers to break through. For years she could not get work on actual buildings in spite of awards and a professorship. This book is definitely on my inspiration list.
5. Soma Water Filtration System
If you want filtered water but aren’t thrilled with the look of the carafes currently on the market, consider the Soma. Available for about $50, the biodegradable filters are about $13 each if you subscribe to the service – a new one is shipped to you free every 60 days.
Arguments in favour of this solution include no more black carbon flecks in the water basin, no more floppy lids, and let’s face it, sleeker looks. Originally a Kickstarter campaign.
6. “Keep Calm and Listen to the Interior Designer” Mousepad
7. Williams-Sonoma Smart Tools for iPad Set
iPad stands are everywhere, of course, but I found this one to be particularly stylish and practical. The stand has a set of Bluetooth speakers built in, and there’s also a removable splash guard for kitchen viewing.
The stand also acts as a charging station, and has a non-slip base. It even has speakerphone capability in case you get an incoming while you’re watching your favourite cooking videos on YouTube.
8. Dezeen Book of Ideas
Dezeen is a favourite online haunt of mine – the site’s a great place to get up-to-the-minute design and architecture information. They have an amazing international calendar of design events: if I could take a year off and festival hop, this would be my guide.
The Book of Ideas is billed as an accessibly-written tour of the most influential and revolutionary moments in design in recent history. Examining the creative new approaches to interiors and everyday products, I’m betting this book is going to make me fall in love with the cleverness of the human race all over again.
Available for approximately $20, you can order the book from Dezeen.
9. Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home
Regular followers of my Twitter and Facebook accounts will know that I’m a big fan of Remodelista, even if I am envious of the incredibly globetrotting editorial perspective. If you haven’t checked out the site you should – they post daily at a level of quality rarely equalled. Their style tends to be beautifully simple, definitely modern and always hip.
I was excited to see that they now have a book available – at an extremely reasonable $30 for over 400 pages of new content. Want!
10. Feel Seating System
Last but not least, I had to include some funky modular furniture. For those who have a spare $8,000.00 kicking around (that’s about $70 per ball), this fun approach to home furnishings is flexible enough to become a bed, a sofa, or different chair types. It’s available in several colours.
Each little foam ball connects to its neighbours with straps that look like little insect legs. Adorable.
Happy shopping everyone!
by Jennifer Priest