The AN 2021 gift guide has everything for the architects in your life

Perfect Presents

The AN 2021 gift guide has everything for the architects in your life

(Mel Poole/Unsplash)

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. As the holiday season comes upon us at the end of a particularly unusual yet exuberant year, AN’s 2021 gift guide is a one-stop source for your gift purchasing needs. We’ve compiled the best architecture, urbanism, and design-themed accessories, kitchenware, toys, tools, and fashion items that are both practical and whimsical. An overall tinge of historical reference and reverence matches well with the contemporary twists on the classics.

Ensuring there’s something everyone can afford, we’ve broken down our selection into different brackets. There are high-quality presents for your colleague, boss, best friend, loved one, or that architect in your life at each price point. We’ve got you covered but get shopping soon as delivery might take longer than expected.

Under $50

Northern Line Nightmare Mug (15 oz)
Adam Nathaniel Furman | $22

a mug with a print
(Courtesy Adam Nathaniel Furman)

British polymath Adam Nathaniel Furman has made a name for himself by creating exuberant and colorful architecture and design concepts. Luckily, the multi-faceted talent has captured his maximalist approach in a series of swag items include geometrically-patterned mugs.

Isamu Noguchi Cushion Cover
Barbican | $26.75

a cushion with an organic print
(Courtesy Barbican)

Ever the revered father of transdisciplinary and organic modernism, Japanese-American architect Isamu Noguchi continues to be celebrated. From his wildly successful Akari Lamps to metaphysical sculptures to ubiquitous coffee table, this historic talent’s quintessential amorphous shapes have been captured in this carefully composed, printed, and upholstered cushion.

Tape Measure
Artek | $27

a tape measure
(Courtesy Artek)

A yard long, this droll house improvement tool celebrates the heritage Finish furniture brand in all of its pared-back minimalism. And yet, this portable durable plastic item is entirely practical; a surprising essential for any architect’s home office set up.

Medium Dark | $42

a candle and package
(Courtesy Medium Dark)

The holiday season traces its roots back to pagan traditions such as the decadent Roman festival of Saturnalia, celebrating the god of agriculture, and the return of longer days. Capturing the essence of the ancient bacchanal is this new abundantly fruitful, flowery, and spiced candle. This handmade flambeau contains notes of sandalwood, myrrh, honey, jasmine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and orange peel.

Over $50

Shipyard Crane Folding Model
MetropolitanCraft | $50

model of a crane gantry for the 2021 gift guide
(Courtesy MetropolitanCraft)

It’s no secret that architects and architecture enthusiasts love maquettes. Distilling complex structures in miniaturized form allows them to own a piece of innovative engineering if not also, history. This laser-cut collectible item reconstitutes a historic 1947 crane from the San Francisco shipyards, a fixture on the city’s skyline.

Single Row Spiked Necklace (Black)

a neckless next to a leaf
(Courtesy AMYTHYST)

Channeling the best of architecture and geometric composition, this striking adornment gives new meaning to the archetypical ‘spiked necklace.’ Crafted using Japanese glass beads and stainless steel cables in sequential open-structure pyramids, this multi-dimensional chain makes for a bold statement piece.

Orbicular Geode Puzzle
Nervous System | $95

a rock formation shaped puzzle
(Courtesy Nervous System)

Puzzles are a dime a dozen in their standard form, but when reimagined using vibrant colors, captivating imagery, and unconventional shapes, they can delight even the most jaded players. Providing hours of enjoyment, this maze-style jigsaw puzzle masterfully celebrates the natural phenomena of orbicular geodes.

Ghost Tumbler
MAX ID NY | $96

two handblown glass cups
(Courtesy MAX ID NY)

Featuring a sumptuous ’70s-inspired leopard effect, these carefully crafted glasses are both aesthetically luxurious and practical. The Venetian-style glass-blown, solid-based tumblers are comfortable to hold and stackable.

Hardcore Quote Hammer
Frank Lloyd Wright Store | $99

a hammer on a background with writing
(Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Store)

Where would architects and their builder counterparts be without the ubiquitous hammer? This symbolic and metaphoric design—engraved with inspirational wisdom from American architectural icon Frank Lloyd Wright—is more versatile and handy than it is pretty, and that’s by design. Crafted as a solid heirloom piece, this apparatus is entirely intended for use and not necessarily a cabinet of curiosity. You decide!

Over $100

Bauhaus-era Christmas Ornaments (set of 12)
AMEICO | $195

ornaments for the 2021 gift guide
(Courtesy AMEICO)

What would a holiday gift guide be without some type of ornament? These Bauhaus-inspired doodads celebrate the influential German school’s mastery of distilled form, pioneering of color theory, and challenging of conventional composition. These turned Black Forest maple wood adornments will add sophistication and play to any festive armature, natural or synthetic.

Cover Home Diffuser (Pelle Frau SC leather)
Acqua di Parma and Poltrona Frau | $220

a round diffuser in four variations on a glass table with a glass vase and flowers in the background
(Courtesy Acqua di Parma and Poltrona Frau)

Adding to the sensory experience of the season, this cleverly designed scent diffuser resulted from the auspicious collaboration of Italian luxury brands Poltrona Frau and Acqua di Parma. Wrapped in fine leather, this spherical device is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing—it’s a compelling addition to any interior.

LACE | $342

a necklace
(Courtesy LACE)

Jenny Wu has taken the artisanal jewelry world by storm. Her 3D-printed wares reveal the potential of this type of fabrication without disregarding the key aesthetic principles of proportion, scale, and ornamentation. This refined necklace, with its dramatic undulation and twist, can be mixed and matched in different striking combinations.

TRNK | $495

a glass table lamp
(Courtesy TRNK)

What would the holiday season be without a reference to light? TRNK’s solid glass, columnar Last Order lamp combines craft and technology. Available in different flat and fluted styles, and four metallic colorways, this small yet impactful rechargeable luminaire will brighten any space on a dark, cold night.

Organic Forms Poster
Herman Miller | $595

a poster
(Courtesy Herman Miller)

Major American furniture manufacturer Herman Miller reintroduced a series of vintage poster designs earlier this year. Celebrating the brand’s rich history and collaboration with major 20th-century designers, this collection includes designs by George Nelson & Associates, Armin Hofmann. and Phillip Mitchell. The latter’s 1972 Organic Forms poster incorporates abstract, striated bands of color in a rainbow spectrum indicative of the times.

G. Ponti-1 (G.P Tortoise / G-15)
Oliver Peoples | $793

a pair of sunglasses
(Courtesy Oliver Peoples)

Gio Ponti was a leading figure of 20th-century Italian architecture and design. Handcrafted in Japan, this acetate and titanium optical frame with distinct details honors the master’s prolific output, if not also his ever-evolving style. Angled element pair perfectly with beveled edges and an extreme top bar sunglass clip. He most certainly would have worn them if he were still alive today.