The importance of craft
July 23, 2017
December 9, 2018
Ahh Christmas, that time of a thousand emails pushing products that nobody needs or wants. Then again, the best gifts are often things you don’t really need. But are just beautiful. The key thing though is that someone thought about you as an individual and chose something they believed might spark joy when you opened it. So herewith a highly subjective collection of 19 things to buy for some very lucky others. Or hint at for yourself.
It covers the purely pretty to the perfectly practical including the premium pricey; it is my ultimate list! After all, a gift should never be just for Christmas. Besides, William Morris’s edict always reigns supreme. “Have nothing in your home that you do not either know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Designed by Barnaba Fornasetti for the last 30 years, these calendar plates continue a tradition started by his father Piero in 1968. His inspiration for this 2019 limited edition? “A symbolic landscape, expressing a desire for freedom and openness. May it rain keys this New Year, in order to open new doors and broaden our horizons.” Perfectly put methinks. Approximately £250 (Euro 280)
Because you can never have too many notebooks, especially if they’re this pretty! £16 each. Anthropologie
Designed by the very wonderful Elena Salmistraro, this limited-edition ceramic ‘Mickey Mouse Forever Young Sculpture’ was two-years in the making. It celebrates the 90th anniversary of Disney’s mouse. Described as being “dressed in shorts with stunning street-art decorations”, it combines a biker jacket with studded shoes. “A game of contrasting colours, refined shiny/matt effects and three-dimensional textures.” Definitely a collector’s piece priced at £3,500 (3,300 Euro excluding VAT) Available from Jane Richards Interiors
Two-tone, 100% linen apron woven from the finest European flax and pre-washed for softness. Because if you’re going to be cooking up a storm, tis nice to look the part! PS there are three different colour options (not shown mustard/bark and pale blue/grey). £60 Larusi
But back to patterned… and again from Fornasetti as I love them so. From the brand new ‘Coromandel’ collection, these trays are just a joy in lacquered, silk-screened wood, hand-painted with silver leaf. Useful and incredibly beautiful. A real heritage piece to keep forever. Admittedly a tad pricey at approximately £890 (1000 Euro) but then this is a dream list, not an Amazon Save-for-Later wishlist.
Superbly sculptural, this ‘Fortress Treasury Box’ is hand-crafted in ceramic with a bronzed finish. Perfect for earrings or perhaps your earplugs by the bed?! It’s also available in a wonderful Chinese red or Iron finish. £196, Lara Bohnic
Apparently made from the same marble as used to build the Taj Mahal! This Stone Spice Grinder takes a utilitarian item and makes it into a thing of great simplicity and beauty. £85, Tom Dixon
Art is always a wonderful gift to give as hopefully it’s for life, won’t wear out and won’t be promptly re-gifted! And I think the Unlimited Gallery in Brighton is one of the best places around for graphic prints and limited editions. They also have a great website so you don’t even need to get on a train, although a visit is definitely to be recommended. This ‘Pink Plant’ giclée A3 print by Tom Abbiss Smith is one of a possible set of four, and it’s only £25 (unframed). Unlimited
Designed by Bjørn Wiinblad, manufactured by Rosendahl this advent candle holder/bowl makes a perfect centrepiece that you’d be proud to bring out every year. Plus it’s decorated with real gold! £70, TwentyTwentyOne
As spotted on new website, The Room Service, a platform devoted to “beautiful things found in design-led hotels, restaurants and spaces”, a series of plates and platters by artist Lucia Fraser. £18- £32, The Room Service
Quite possibly the most beautiful Apple watch and strap in the world: The Apple Watch Series 4 Hermès. It has three delicious colours of leather in the strap, and even the face sweeps from one shade to the next as the hands go round. Literal swoon. £1,399 Apple Watch Series 4 Hermès
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing items with thin seams of gold. which often, in my opinion, renders them more beautiful than when they were intact. These porcelain plates were designed to honour this ancient art, and as the designer puts it, “to create something very functional and at the same time inspirational and to remind people of the essence of resilience.” £110 for a pair, Japana
Like jewellery for your walls. This mirror is one of a set of eight by the French designer Inge Sempé for the Italian brand Magis. After all, as Inga so correctly says, “With a mirror you can see yourself, but above all you can liven up a wall and light up a room, as if it were a window or a lamp always left on.” Magis Prices range from approximately £350 – £450 available from Made in Design
An utterly unique piece of artwork. A 3D resin model of the City of London at a scale of 1:2500 in a simple wooden frame (suitable to wall mount or display on a desk). And if you don’t fancy that, then have a browse around the rest of the Chisel & Mouse site and perhaps you’ll fall for a 3D model of some iconic architectural buildings (from Battersea Power Station to Helsinki Central Station) instead. Your only dilemma will be deciding which one to choose. London Cityscape, framed (with different wood colour options), 70cm x 70cm, £495. Chisel & Mouse
If a somewhat softer art work is more your taste, then how about bringing the power and positivity of plants inside with one of these 100% cotton wall hangings from artist and designer Katherine Gorham. Hand printed in the UK, £450 Katharine Gorham
Now where would we be without a few pots on my list! And I love these in hand-thrown Limoges porcelain from Society Limonta. Designed by Beatrice Rossetti Society Limonta Ceramics was born out of the desire to explore the textural possibilities of ceramic, thus pieces are often in a combination of matt and gloss and some even bear the imprint of a super fine linen. These are the very latest coloration, a rather lovely smoky tobacco grey. Prices from about £55. Society Limonta Online shop And you can read more about this wonderful brand here.
Eternally gorgeous for the colour mix and luxurious softness, this is a throw that will never date. Plus, for that all important extra-added detail, each one is beautifully edged with blanket stitches, which adds a soupçon of additional texture. £285 Wallace + Sewell
I remember seeing this at the made.com press show and lusting after it then. And now that I have amassed quite a few houseplants, I think I need it too! The ideal tool to make a chore into a ritual. You’ll also be supporting emerging designers as this piece was part of the brand’s fantastic crowdfunded TalentLab initiative that invites anyone to send in a design idea with a selection then being chosen to go through to production. ‘Tend To’ watering can in polished brass, £39 made.com
And finally, one classic chair: a limited edition of the ‘Beugel’ chair first designed in 1927 by Gerrit T. Rietveld and now re-issued with an original motif designed by the Dutch illustrator Joost Swarte. Available in three colourways (mustard, blue and white), with only 200 being made of each, And the design? “It was the love for connections and constructions that made Rietveld’s works so outstanding. I paid homage to this with a motif based on the cartesian knot: a simple connection of three wooden sticks, elegant and ever-lasting” says Swarte The pearl white version will be launched for the festive season while the blue and mustard versions will be presented at the imm cologne trade fair in January 2019. Laminated wood seat over a steel frame, and yours for an estimated £1,550 (1,450 Euro excl VAT) Cassina
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Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.