The Most Impressively Astounding Last Minute Designer’s Shopping Guide 2013


Ok, Black Friday has come and gone, you’ve scoured all the gift lists for your design minded friends and family, but there’s just nothing that sounds right, and the clock is ticking.  Well, I’m here to help!  Architects, artists, rejoice! That’s right, for the first (and hopefully not last) time I present the The Most Impressively Astounding Last Minute Designer’s Shopping Guide!*

*Disclaimer: There is no actual evidence substantiating that this list is either ‘impressive’ or ‘astounding’.


Cocoon’s Grid-It Organizer:

As designers our life is rife with accessories.  Pens, styluses, phones, chargers, yadda, yadda.  This is a brilliant little gem that allows you to combine all those items into an easily stored package while still offering easy access.  What I’ve found to be particularly useful is the sheer versatility, with the randomly interwoven mesh, very regular or irregular groups of items can be quickly combined.

Price: $13-$20 depending on flavor.



Strapworks Universal Carry Strap:



If you’re an architect, you’ve been there.  Everyone thinks we stand out on the construction site in a suit and tie with a hard hat directing while we look at a couple rolled sheets of blue prints.  The reality is that we hardly use full size prints anymore, and even with the proliferation of tablets stuffed with reams of drawings, it’s just easier to flip through a half size set.  But while a set may be half size, it’s never half thick, and I think set’s seem to get thicker and thicker with each year.  Taking that roll to a client meeting, or god forbid, on the plane, is an enormous hassle, but much less so with the Strapworks Universal Carry Strap.  Easy, cheap and simple, the strap is designed to tote sleeping bags and the like, but can be easily converted to sling a 40lb roll over your shoulder to take to the city.

Price: $11.81


SR Patio Garden:


Scout Regalia is an excellent design firm that has a whole host of interesting products.  As many designers are also foodie urban dwellers, this is a perfect present for anyone whose planting space is limited.  What you get are the brackets, fasteners and drainage mat and you need to provide the lumber, dirt and plans.  Sure, I know what you’re saying “I can make those.  I took a furniture class in college where we hand crafted concrete slabs into intricate latticework lamp shades…”  Yeah…sure, you could.  But you won’t.  They also have some really nifty plant ID Tags.

Price: Patio Garden Kit – $105.00 + shipping,  ID Tags – $15.00 + shipping, Great tasking food – priceless


Bel-Art Scienceware Switch-Grid Test Tube Rack:



Ok…yeah it’s a little kooky, but have you looked at the prices of those specially designed art pen holders?  They run like $50-$70 for a bent piece of acrylic, and you can only fit one pen type!  What I love about this item is that you can order the main frame and then purchase various inserts to accommodate different pen widths for whatever you might want to store.

Price: Rack and 1 set of inserts – $19.50, Additional sets of inserts – $5.00


Areaware Concrete Tape Dispenser:



Sure, you can get any cutesie little colored tape dispenser from Target or IKEA but the real designer knows that concrete is the lifeblood of modernism.  Let their desktop be adorned with this most iconic, yet practical or materials and reinforce their self loathingly black clad design integrity!

Price: $35.00


Lamy Abc Fountain Pen


Designers are known for their affinity for pens and there is nothing better than forcing one’s passions upon their own children, thus I present, the Lamy Abc Fountain Pen.  Teach your child calligraphy and the undeniable importance of a quality writing instrument. This gift actually builds on an excellent recommendation by the Life of an Architect gift list some years ago which suggested the original Lamy fountain pen.  My firm gave those pens as prizes in a photography competition and one of the winners (who is originally from Germany) was delighted because she had very fond memories of her first Lamy pen which she learned penmanship with back in elementary school.  This is that pen, available in red or blue, the shaft crafted from maple with a white field for the recipient to write their name on the cap.

Price: $24.99


I hope every has a delightful holiday.  Cheers!

  • Tim S

    Organizer, Fountain pen, and test tube rack, in that order 🙂

  • Jonathan Brown

    The organizer is a life saver. Love it!