Latest Posts

Designy Things Holiday Gift Guide

Here are some designy gift ideas for your holiday season, from a snowflake you can cuddle to pencils you can plant in the garden.

Jellycat Holiday Soft Toys

Jellycat arguably makes some of the most adorable plushies in the world, combining the softest materials with a small smiling face that brings personality to all types of everyday objects and animals.

Designed in London, this snowflake ($30.00), Christmas Tree ($40.00), or potted Poinsettia ($48.00) can adorn a mantle or work as a festive table centerpiece. Available through the MoMA Design Store.

Embroidered Holiday Ornaments

Designed in London and handmade in India by a team of master embroiderers, these ethically sourced fabric holiday ornaments are made through the traditional technique of “zardosi” (sewing with gold), historically used to decorate the most luxurious of courtly finery.

Ornaments in the collection include Claude Monet, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent van Gogh. $16.95- $18.95. Available through the MoMA Design Store.

Claude Monet
Alma Woodsey Thomas

Taste Collection by Paola Navone

The Glass House design store offers an exclusive design collaboration with Italian architect and designer Paola Navone and the porcelain manufacturer Reichenbach in Germany. The trays in the collection features graceful baroque lines in fine white porcelain and pearl rim relief.

Cake Plate ($125.00), Biscuit Tray ($75.00) and Coffee Cup + Tray ($68.00). Every purchase made supports The Glass House.

bFriends Collection from Bene

The new bFRIENDS series of the sustainable, 3D printed accessories are manufactured using a 3D printing process with petroleum-free bioplastic PLA, which eliminates the use of fossil raw materials in all phases of production.

Designed by Pearson Lloyd, the new collection of decorative accessories features whimsical animals from land, air, and sea, available in 13 standard shades. https://www.batch.works/collections/bfriends

The Town Musicians 
A donkey, dog, cat, and rooster stacked on top of each other hark back to a well-known fairytale.
Wildlife Collection 
Decorative pieces, featuring creatures from the animal kingdom including a giraffe, hippo, elephant, bird, and crocodile.

 

Plantable Pencil by Sprout World

When a Sprout pencil becomes too short to write with you can plant it in the ground, giving new life to an end-of-life product that you would otherwise throw in the bin. 

Sprout World’s pencils are available with different seeds that grow into vegetables, flowers and herbs, as well as a tree. https://www.amazon.com/Sprout-Bee-friendly-Eco-Friendly-Sustainable-Inspirational/dp/B095WR87L9?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1

Swedish Dishcloth Greeting Cards

Brightly has fused the principles of a classic Swedish Dishcloth with the timeless whimsy of a greeting card. Simply write your message with a permanent marker on the inside/back, and after your friend has read it, they can use it as a dishcloth. With just one of these, you get the same use you would out of 17 rolls of paper towels. ($35 for a set of six) https://brightly.eco/

Ukraine Twist Candle

For every Ukraine Twist candle sold, the Celsius54 Candle Co. is donating $25.00 to Sunflower of Peace, a Boston-based charity directly helping victims of the war. 

Sunflower of Peace is a nonprofit organization with a mission to mobilize support and aid for Ukrainian orphans, internally displaced persons, and those most affected by the current situation by providing medical assistance and other necessities.

Due to the current crisis, Sunflower of Peace started a new fundraiser to provide medical and humanitarian aid that will be used by the paramedics and doctors in the areas that are most affected by the violence in Ukraine. They are acquiring and distributing first-aid backpacks, medicine, medical instruments, and other items that are saving hundreds of lives.

Celsius54’s twist candle for Ukraine combines the country’s flag colors of blue and gold in a sleek modern design. Made in the Netherlands, the candle costs $40. Available at: https://54celsius.com/.

Image courtesy Celsius54 Candle Co.

Toff & Zürpel Beeswax Wraps

Toff & Zürpel, a Dresden-based brand that designs natural, and reusable beeswax wraps, is now available in North America through AMEICO. An alternative to wasteful one-use products such as cling wrap and aluminum foil, Toff & Zürpel beeswax cloths bring a colorful touch to covering salads, cheeses, cut fruit, veggies and more.

Toff & Zürpel beeswax cloths are made of bio-cotton, regional organic beeswax, traditional pine resin, and fair trade organic coconut oil. The wraps are water repellant and are available through AMEICO in four sizes and three color schemes.

The wraps come with a natural beeswax soap bar which can be used to clean the wraps after use and as a general kitchen or hand soap.

A starter kit including four different sized wraps sells for $40.00 and the soap sells for $13.00. All images courtesy of AMEICO.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

While you can’t go wrong with roses and chocolates, why not earn some extra points this year with a Valentine’s Day gift that is both unexpected and well designed? Here are a few new designythings for all the ones you love. Single this year? Then, in the immortal words of Tom and Donna from Parks & Rec, Treat yo’ self!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Heart Bowl by Lukas Urbanec

Image courtesy of Philip Johnson Glass House Design Store.

Handmade in Prague using traditional Czech methods, this lovely 6” x 3” porcelain bowl gives you its heart. When filled with coffee or tea, soups, or snacks, the bowl transforms its contents into a heart shape. The bowl is paired with the Apiniste Limoges Serving Platter (shown below). Available in white or pink through The Glass House Design Store. $45.00

Image courtesy of Philip Johnson Glass House Design Store.

Wordbits

Wordbits are lightweight yet strong alphabet magnets to surprise your Valentine with a personal love note on a fridge or any magnetic surface. Available in a premium matte finish and a custom typeface four colors (blush, mustard, slate, and white). Comes with 60 characters measuring 1.2” tall. BPA and phthalate-free. Intended for ages 14+.

Available for $39.00 from MustardMade.

MoMA Design Store

Here are some heart-warming, well-curated gifts available through the MoMA Design Store, including a magic heart bulb, a flower vase, and a comfy robe and slippers.

The Heart Rechargeable Bulb Light features a dual-colored, heart-shaped filament (pink on one side, orange on the other) within a clear bulb. It is powered by a USB-rechargeable battery (cord included) that delivers 5 hours of light after about 90 minutes of charging time. The bulb can be held safely in your hands and has a flat bottom so it can stand on a table or desk. Measures 4.75h x 2.5″ diameter. $30.00 (non-member), $24.00 (member).
This special edition of the best-selling Subu Slippers is made from recycled nylon fabric derived from consumer-waste PET bottles. Featuring the MoMA logo and a patchwork of colors, these water- and stain-resistant slippers are like a warm down jacket for your feet.) $69.00 (non-member)
Inspired by the artwork of the Netherland’s De Stijl movement, the Mondri Vase is composed of transparent acrylic panels in primary and neon colorways. The vase is designed with three different chambers to accomodate different floral arrangements and flower sizes. The Mondri Vase measures 7.5h x 9.5w x 3.25″d. $100.00 (non-member) $80.00 (member)
Brooklyn-based designer Ellen Van Dusen is known for her vibrant color palette. Her extra-soft Dusen Dusen Striped Bathrob is made from 100% cotton terry in colors inspired by Frank Stella paintings from the 1960s. It features contrast-color stripes on the inside. $132.00 (non-member), $105.60 (member)

Moooi Pillows

Design brand Moooi offers a collection of quirky and bold animal-themed pillows to give your Valentine something to snuggle up to when you aren’t there.

Part of the Extinct Animal Pillows collection, the rectangular Denim Indigo Macaque Pillow depicts two Indigo Macaques and is crafted in Moooi’s Denim fabric that is environmentally produced, does not fade, and does not leak color. Insert sold separately. $140.00.

A Quirky Take on Hearts

Italian brand Seletti offers several quirky takes on the heart motif with these clever gift ideas.

The Mouse Lamp Love Edition by Marcantonio features a cute resin mouse stands on its paws presenting someone a heart-shaped red light bulb. Indoor use only. An LED lightbulb is included.
The I Love You case by Toiletpaper Home features photographic compositions by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. Not for the faint of heart. Yes, I went there. $37.00.
The I Love You notebook by Toiletpaper Home features photographic compositions by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. Not for the faint of heart. Yes, I went there. $20.00
The special-edition Love in Bloom Color porcelain vase comes with a stand. Purchases support AISM – Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society. $140.00.
Created by the artist-designer Marcantonio, the Love in Bloom white porcelain box offers a clever take on the traditional symbol of love. Perfect for fans of Nirvana, doctors, It also stores things! $99.00.

Shameless Plug Alert!

Objects of Desire: A Showcase of Modern Erotic Products and the Creative Minds Behind Them by Rita Catinella Orrell and Jason Scuderi

Yes, it’s a shameless plug, but my book on erotic product design truly is a fantastic give for a romantic partner, design lover, or someone who is a little of both. Schiffer Publishing. $34.99.

Patented: 1000 Design Patents by Thomas Rinaldi

Product design junkies will be in awe of Patented, a thick tome featuring 1000 design patent documents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The one-of-a-kind field guide includes patents from well-known names such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and Buckminster Fuller, to more surprising entries from celebrities such as Francis Ford Coppola (packaging for beverages – wine perhaps?) and Prince (guitar, obviously.)

Author and architectural designer Thomas Rinaldi offers readers and future patent makers more than a century of product and industrial design that’s been organized chronologically from 1900 to 2020. The uniform aesthetic of the patent drawings means all 1,000 designs are illustrated in the same style — from bottle openers to bicycles. If you don’t have a shelf big enough for Patented, don’t worry. You can just go and design a patent for one.

$35.95 U.S. Order from your local independent bookstore or at Phaidon

All images courtesy of Phaidon.

My Football Kit by Nendo

Inflatable soccer balls are hard to maintain in impoverished communities because of the unavailability of air pumps or the deterioration and damage of the tube inside the ball. In response, Japanese design firm Nendo has designed a non-inflatable soccer ball that gives the same kicking sensation as a standard ball.

Inspired by the structure of the traditional Japanese woven bamboo ball, the My Football Kit is assembled with three types of components and includes a total of 54 parts. The instructions for assembly are designed like a picture book in easily understood illustrations. Instead of relying on internal air pressure, the ball uses the resilience of its surface material, soft, recycled polypropylene and elastomeric synthetic resin components, to bounce.

The material won’t hurt bare feet and is unlikely to develop a sharp fractured surface that might cause injury, even if broken. If a component comes off during play, the interlocking structure ensures the ball will not disassemble. Components may be shipped in disassembled states in compact packages, potentially cutting shipping costs.

Nendo, soccer ball, football, non-inflatable, good design,

The ball comes in multiple colors, allowing children to create their own personal color schemes. Nendo also designed a packaging sack to be used to carry around the ball like a backpack.

There is potential for businesses and organizations to print original logos or develop brand-specific color schemes, which might encourage contributions to educational institutions and club teams.

All images courtesy of Nendo.