When it comes to choosing holiday gifts for others, sometimes I’m the WORST and sometimes I’m the BEST. Being a creative type, I only get into the gift-giving spirit once inspired by something — or someone. Unfortunately, this usually leads to procrastination, which leads to added stress, which leads to…GIFT CARDS.
Although I always try my hardest to avoid the G-word, some people are just too hard to read; rocking the pocket plastic is both safe and practical. Perhaps that vintage Bionic Woman lunchbox your TV-obsessed boss stalks on ebay is too personal a choice from an employee. Or maybe that jelly/crackers/cheese basket you picked up for the in-laws suddenly seems more fit for the gal that does your nails than the people who watch your kids.
To keep us all from resorting to the G-word, my friend and Casa Sugar editor, Julia Walsh, put together a list of 12 last-minute gifts for design lovers. From the notoriously late party guest to that special lady who loves to entertain, Ms. Walsh has gotcha covered. Unless you’re shopping for someone who prefers gift cards. And if that’s the case, maybe you should just buy them a gift card to the gift card store.
1. BPF: I’m notoriously 10 minutes late for everything. What’s a great idea for someone like me who’s always tardy for the party?
JW: Jason Linde’s Wenge Series Clock ($110) is a stunning and unique find that makes counting the hours a pleasure. I love the juxtaposition of its feminine enamel hand with the clean lines of its eco-friendly, wenge wood book.
2. BPF: How about midcentury lovers?
JW: The new Limited Edition Eames Walnut Hang-It-All ($249) is a marvel of modern design that’s been given a fresh twist with solid walnut balls. It’s a bit more dapper than the multi-colored original, but just as handy for your warm winter gear.
3. BPF: Art is often thought of as too personal a gift. What’s a not-too-personal idea for gift-friendly art?
JW: For the design enthusiast who’s a typography fiend too, Tor Week’s A Field Guide to Typestaches Poster ($24) is a captivatingly clever piece of artwork that will liven up any room in the house.
4. BPF: What would you get for a jet-setter who’s always on the go?
JW: It’s always been my belief that good design will prevail, and that couldn’t be more evident than in a classic like L.L. Bean’s canvas totes. This year, the carry-everywhere bags were re-envisioned in saltwash in a range of wearable hues by the brand’s upscale spin-off label, L.L. Bean Signature. Choose a medium ($45) or large ($65) Saltwash Canvas Tote (or both!) for daily or weekend luggage!
5. BPF: Give us one gift idea that works just as well for kids as it does for adults.
JW: For the budding design lover or a big kid who’s young at heart, Zolo construction sets of zany, brightly-colored pieces — a product of Ettore Sottsass’s Memphis-Milano Movement — will let imaginations run wild! If you can get your hands on an original wooden Collector’s Set (try eBay) by all means do; there’s something so tactile and inspiring about playing with natural pieces. Otherwise, Zolo-a-Go-Go ($39), which is readily available and includes 48 plastic pieces in a carrying case, is a smart alternative for creativity on the move.
6. BPF: What about classic, fun accessories?
JW: CB2 turned traditional Russian matryoshka nesting dolls on their heads with a Set of Six ($50) doused in happy, hand-painted, midcentury-inspired patterns. These will catch eyes displayed on a shelf or side table, or even used as bright bookends.
7. BPF: Do you have design-lover book ideas?
JW: In September, Assouline Press teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to release American Fashion Designers at Home ($65), an intimate and exclusive look into the gorgeously-designed quarters of more than 100 acclaimed sartorial tastemakers including Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karen, Ralph Lauren and more. For your friends whose weakness for interior eye candy rivals his or her fascination with fashion, this book is a must-buy.
8. BPF: Wearable design?
JW: Dutch industrial designer Tord Boontje, whose Midsummer Ceiling Lights never cease to lose steam, has ventured into the world of bijoux with Charming ($22), four sets of absolutely adorable animal and botanical charms in gold and silver. Arriving on a thin black cord, they can be worn as a necklace or bracelet, dangled from cell phones, or used to adorn anything your pal’s little design-loving heart desires.
9. BPF: What would you suggest for that person who always does the entertaining?
JW: For the mademoiselle who loves to cook and entertain, Michael Aram’s hammered, cast metal Black Orchid Bowl ($165) is a delicate, contemporary creation that can be used to serve salads, display fruits or corral treasures.
10. BPF: Anything for the home office or library?
Made from polished gemstones, Roost’s Agate Bookends ($65) are a luxe pick-up for the literati in your life. Both functional and decorative, your pals can use them to prop up riveting reads and bring a dose of glam to a boring bookshelf.
11. BPF: And for bachelors or boyfriends?
JW: Pick up a set of Sagaform’s Rocking Whiskey Glasses ($25 for 6) paired with Teroforma’s Whiskey Stones ($20) for a dapper, design-loving dude who likes to look sharp while taking a swig of his favorite poison.
12. BPF: Last but not least, whaddya got for wine lovers?
JW: For a beginner or veteran wine collector, Modern Cellar’s Sporadic Mini Wall Panel ($140) is a handsome wine rack crafted from eco-friendly, hand-rubbed walnut that will store a small, ready-available wine collection and make a statement in a modern interior.