The Most Impressively Astounding Last Minute Designer’s Shopping Guide 2014


Architects and designers are peculiar.  It’s true.  We have a penchant for really odd things, we collect too many books, we’re fascinated by writing utensils, we laugh internally at irrepressible design tropes nobody else gets.  It’s in our fabric.  This list caters to those whims, so the friends and spouses of those afflicted can have a chance at satisfying it.



The Architect’s Cookbook:



Let’s start off with a easy lob.  The Connecticut chapter of the AIA has published a cookbook featuring beautiful line drawings amid over 250 recipes submitted by architects and members of the design and construction industry.  Somehow my wife found this gem last year and got it for me and I love it.

Price: $14.95


Kikkerland Retro Pens:


Kikkerland Retro Pens

What could be a more brilliant stocking stuffer for any designer?  The Kikkerland Retro Pens are deliciously mid-century in their design and come in an array of mixed colors.

Price: $9.17


Book: London Buildings | An Architectural Tour:



This entry is one of my favorite because there are so many facets to it. I ran into the book while I was at the Tate Modern in London and was immediately struck by the beautiful simple lines in the illustrative style contained within.  It is some of the simplest and sexiest delineation I’ve ever seen. I came to find the designers, a group known as People Will Always Need Plates, had actually done an bevy of different products based on this style.  The book could be enough for any designer, but I wanted to offer up the other possibilities based on whom you might be buying for.

   book_01    print_01     notecards_01     mug_01

     Book                     Prints                      Postcards                  Mugs

   Price: $12.84         Price: Varies            Price: £9.99          Price:£10.99


Trellick Large Square Pillows

Trellick Large Square

While these are also from the brilliant People Will Always Need Plates, team, I thought they deserved their own post because they are a distinctly different application and design.  As it’s almost a requirement that any red blooded architect have a soft spot for Brutalism, I present you with the Trellick Tower Large Square pillows.  Nothing elevates a designer’s ego like a subtle pattern from such an iconic Brutalist masterpiece that only the most savvy architectural historian might pick up on.

Price: £84.00


Pencil 53


Pencil 53

Companies are giving out stylus’ like thumb drives.  They’re ubiquitous, but very few have the precision to do what you want to do when sketching on a tablet.  What I love first about this device is how they modeled it after a construction pencil, which affords a useful grip.  Pencil 53 comes with it’s own app and software built right in.  The tip is curved but firm, and the top can be spun around for erasing.  Unfortunately it is iOS only right now.  You can find a nice video run down here. (Image via Daniel Y. Go here)

Price: $59.95


Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition


For those of you not acolytes in the Church of Jobs,  I offer the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet with a built in stylus. For most people, the stylus is less important of a feature, but the precision that the Samsung stylus offers is really remarkable.  This device has almost completely replaced my sketch book and within the S Note software, I have built template for meeting minutes on which I take notes exclusively.   Whether I’m redlining PDFs of drawings for my team, or inserting reference images and making notes on a proof for a 3D rendering consultant, this tablet is spectacular right out of the box.

Price: $497.99


Shinola Detroit Watches



I love watches.  I mean, I’m an architect, of course I do.  So I submit the Shinola watches which are some of the most beautifully designed timepieces I’ve seen lately.  They also have a great story, rejecting the notion that manufacturing is inevitably leaving the US, the founders set up shop in Detroit and hope to use it as a vehicle for revitalization there.  Watches aren’t their only product, so I encourage you to go and look around.

Price: Varies, typically $400-$700



Well, happy holidays everyone.  I hope this helps.  Anything you purchase through these Amazon links makes a donation to the Rockwall Community Playhouse, a non-profit theater my wife is involved in and is a gem in the Rockwall downtown. Cheers.