It’s that time of year again. Here are our suggestions of what to give your favorite hard-to-satisfy, design-obsessed, on-the-go, clutter-phobic, inspiration-seeking architect. If these don’t please, then we don’t know what will!
|Solio and Solar Backpack
Yes, we are always on the go, and we can’t bear being disconnected. Harness the power of the sun for all your portable devices. The Solar Backpack from Voltaic Systems generates enough power to juice up cell phones, digital cameras, and the like, but not laptops, alas. The bag comes with a set of standard adapters and a battery pack to store unused power. $325. (MoMA, 81 Spring Street.) The solar-powered Solio will also recharge cell phones, palm pilots, and your other gadgets. For iPods, one hour of sun light will power one hour of music. $99. (www.solio.com)
Richard Sapper’s Halley Collection for Lucesco does for LEDs (light-emitting diodes) what his 1972 Tizio Lamp did for halogenssit brings the latest in lighting technology to the masses in an elegant design. Available as a compact task light, a desk lamp, and a floor lamp, Halley is energy-efficient and has a great range of movement, based entirely on counterbalanced components (no springs or knobs). $510 to $640. (Moss, 146 Greene Street.)
|The Modern Procession
Now you can own a miniature of a design classic, with a simple DIY kit from New York designer Mark McKenna. Just punch out the parts, assemble, plug into a 9-volt battery, and small miniatures of Richard Sapper’s Tizio Lamp, Achille Castiglioni’s Arco Floor Lamp (pictured), Ingo Maurer’s Lucellino come to light. $26. (MoMA, 81 Spring Street.)
|Supple Mocha Cups
Ribbed and curvy, the Supple Mocha Cups designed by Greg Lynn for Alessi imbue bone china with a fresh tactility. $70. (www.unicahome.com.)
Mod Cabinet’s thumbprint-activated locking system marries contemporary pragmatism to a retro aesthetic. PDAs with Bluetooth can control access to the cool, stackable units, which were designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based design and technology consultancy Glide. $2,395. (www.glide-inc.com or Matter, 227 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn.)
Continuing with his experiments with paper and lightweight materials, Frank Gehry has created the Cloud Lamp, made by Belux for Vitra. The fiberlike polyester membrane comes as flat sheets that are snapped together and shaped around plastic rings; the lamp morphs according to its owner’s whim. $498 to $698. (Design Within Reach, various locations.)
|Lexon Stick Sound
The Stick Sound by French company Lexon looks like a minimalist video-game joystick but is actually a radio. Toggle left and right to search for frequencies; up and down to control volume. $48.50. (Industries Stationery, 91 Crosby Street.)
Zaha Hadid has brought her famous fondness for twists and torques to the Crevasse Vase, which she created for Alessi. The polished stainless steel vase is appealing individually or as a pair. $220. (Special order, Conran, 407 E. 59th Street.)
For the over-accessorized architect, the Scale Pen designed by Shigeru Ban for acme studios is the perfect accompaniment to outrr eyewear and intellectual scarves. Inspired by architects’ classic triangular scale, this retractable ball-point pen is engraved on each of its three sides with different measurement scales. $98. (MoMA Store, 81 Spring Street.)
This season, why not give the biggest gift of allla new home. The LLvetann, developed by Oslo-based firm Snnhetta, is the latest iteration of the prefab craze, based on modules that buyers can arrange at will. Flatpacked and shippable, LLvetann is buildable in 10 days. From $276 to $345 per square foot. (www.lovetann.com)
|The Contemporary Guesthouse: Building in the Garden
Edizioni Press, $45 (hardcover)
Though guesthouses are typically reserved in scale and program, the projects in this monograph are hardly restrained from a design standpoint. Featured are projects by Shigeru Ban, Shim-Sutcliffe, Toshiko Mori, and others.
|Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design
Edited by Florian Bohm
Phaidon Press, $69.95 (hardcover)
This comprehensive monograph of young German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic shows a mechanistic aestheticcseen in his famous ONE Chair and Mayday Lamppthat’s as comfortable in an auto shop as in a living room.
|Katsura: Imperial Villa
Edited by Virginia Ponciroli
Electa, $79.95 (hardcover)
This new book on Katsura, the Japanese imperial villa, begins with an informative introductory essay by Arata Isozaki. An impressive number of images and drawings, as well as a collection of writings from architect-authors ranging from Bruno Taut to Kenzo Tange, offer a diverse analysis of the complex site.
|The Silver Spoon
Phaidon Press, $39.95 (hardcover)
Originally published in Italy by Domus in 1950, Silver Spoon, a collection of regional and seasonal recipes from all over Italy, has finally been translated into English. The classic best-seller has been beautifully redesigned, with recipes organized by course and ingredient.
Die Gestalten Verlag, $59 (hardcover)
A meticulous catalogue of things categorized by neu (objects), bau (humans), and welt (plants and animal forms) may seem like an odd gift. Inside, however, the silhouetted itemssfrom hatchets to titmiceeoffer an endlessly amusing diversity of forms. The book comes with a CD of images, which may be reproduced and edited at will.
|Architecture Now 3
Taschen, $39.99 (paper)
Architecture Now 3 may be the perfect book to give to friends who are less than savvy about established and rising architecture stars. The book presents thorough profiles of 27 contemporary practitioners from around the worlddincluding the likes of David Adjaye, Carlos Zapata, Vito Acconci, Ken Yeang, and Asymptoteecomplete with head shots of principals, full-length biographies, and notable works.
|Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program 194551966
Elizabeth A. T. Smith
Taschen, $200 (hardcover with case)
The Arts & Architecture>sponsored brainchild of John Entenza has been revitalized in this grand tome. Thirty of the projects from the magazine’s Case Study program are portrayed in stunning photographs, detailed drawings, and clear essays.
|Ed Rusha: Then & Now
Steidl, $175 (boxed set, casebound)
Ed Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonnn of the Paintings Volume 2
Edited by Robert Dean and Erin Wright
Steidl/Gagosian Gallery, $200 (clothbound)
Two recent books confirm Ed Ruscha’s place as one of the most important artists of our time. The second of a planned six-part volume, Catalogue Raisonnn contains paintings from 1971 to 1982 as well as essays by Peter Wollen and Reyner Banham. Then & Now includes two sets of panoramas taken of Hollywood Boulevard, one in 1973 and the other in 2004.
|1000 Lights: 1960 to Present
Edited by Charlotte & Peter Fiell
Regan Books-HarperCollins, $22 (paper with case)
1000 Lights is an authoritative history of contemporary lighting design. A follow-up to 1,000 Lights: 1878 to 1959, this volume traces more recent lighting trends, with over 1,200 lights representing movements from pop to postmodernism to high tech.
|Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design
Princeton Architectural Press, $45.00 (paper)
From the Dixie cup to the fortune cookie, nearly 100 commonplace objects are celebrated in MoMA curator Paola Antonelli’s latest book, inspired by an exhibition she presented at MoMA Queens in 2004. The cleverly designed book features a small image of each object, accompanied by a large color photograph of a detail, and a brief blurb on the object’s design history.
|Tape: An Excursion Through the World of Adhesive Tapes
Die Gestalten Verlag, $36 (hardcover)
Clothes, graffiti, teapots, toys, plants, and other artifacts fill the pages of this book, dedicated to showcasing endless usessartistic, jovial, and practicallof tape. The book features artists’ as well as essays about the sticky subject.
|Le Corbusier plans
Birkhhuser, $2,100 per set, $7,600 for all four
Extravagant, yes, but impressive. This digitized collection of over 35,000 plans, sketches, and documents from the archives of the Fondation Le Corbusier is being released in four sets. The first two have already been released; the remaining two will be published over the
George Beylerian and Andrew Dent
John Wiley & Sons, $80 (hardcover)
It seems only fitting that Material ConneXion, the industry’s megasource for materials, would produce an expansive catalogue presenting the latest in plastics, resins, metals, and other cool design building blocks. Where else will you learn the difference between light-degradable and biodegradable polymers?
Compiled by andrew yang and jaffer kolb