Functional gifts

Architects’ wives have the pleasure of living a simple life in their minimalist homes, with a few very beautiful things.

In the home, there will be at least one beautiful chair or stool, amid a collection of interesting if less perfect chairs.

Paramount Hotel, NY, collection of interesting chairs

Paramount Hotel, NY, collection of interesting chairs

Some of the beautiful objects in their homes will have been gifts they have received from their architect husbands.

a philippe stark toilet brush

a philippe starck toilet brush

Architects love objects that reflect the principles of their vocation – objects that are well designed, simple/beautiful in a modernist way and above all functional. Like their wives.

Architects may give their wives gifts like the Starck toilet brush. Or the Sigg Water Bottle.

While women who are married to less imaginative, less creative men might receive diamond jewellery or french perfume for their birthdays, architect’s wives are blessed with these quirky and practical gifts. The beauty of them is that they may look unimpressive or strange to the untrained eye.



They may be objects made out of the materials that they enjoy using in buildings – been made out of stone…

or wood…


Or glass

Some of these objects will be gifts the architect’s wife has given to her husband.

Or are things that their more insightful friends have given the couple (there are many less successful gifts that would only be on display if the giver was to visit).

Philippe Starck, on his ‘ghost’ chair, which is popular with architects. He now says ‘Everything I designed was unnecessary’ – a comment carefully designed (as with everything he designs) to challenge the architect’s functionalism.

Here is a list of possible gifts that an architect might consider for his architect wife:

– Marimekko print fabric to make something with: a gift that is practical and guarantees her next outfit will have a bold modern print.

– Barbara Heath Jewellery – some of this exquisite jewellery appeals to architects because it is highly sculptural and architectural in form, and is reminiscent of steel and glass structures.

Other pieces by Barbara Heath have organic shapes and curves that appeal to architects and their wives.

-Nike sports clothes – Some very plain Nike or similar brand sports clothes, well designed, functional, quality garments.

– Camper shoes

-japanese paper

-Frank Gehry ring…


5 responses to “Functional gifts

  1. On the topic of gift giving, the architect is extremely difficult to buy gifts for. It’s impossible to match his quirkiness in gifts without his imaginative flair for things, and generally the architect will buy everything he wants.

    He eschews those glossy architectural coffee table books, perhaps not wanting to be reminded of what other architects are doing…So, it’s often a recourse to something boring and practical, like a shirt, a non architectural book or theatre tickets which the poor architect probably finds very dull. Any suggestions for Christmas?

  2. oh that is so true. they do buy the stuff they want.
    here are my suggestions – he wont’ have much time to read so.
    A pile of phantom comics for the towering intellect
    story bridge climb to get look at his blgs from new angle
    missoni tie – frank lloyd wright tie
    jean paul xavier cufflinks – timber/brass sculpted.
    more later

  3. Books – there are some that are suitable….There’s a great book on the History of the Container Box (you know shipping containers) and how they changed the world – can’t recall name – but just the kind of info that would appeal to him and give him some knowall facts to bring out at Xmas parties. Equally good – there’s some book out there on where underpants come from – looking at labour and manufacturing in china.
    As used on the famous Nelson Mandela by Mark Thomas- hilarious non fiction. A British comedian activist explores the world of the arms and torture trade. Loaded with astonishing facts, funnies and political intrigue – for the knowall who likes to occupy the higher moral ground.
    That White Tiger book which just won the Booker Prize – he lives for awards, so might like getting a prize winner.
    An all time favorite if he’s at all self reflective … Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child”, a rivetting read as you’ll know. A slender book for the time poor – plays to his sense of being gifted, misunderstood and underappreciated. No time or inclination for therapy? he’ll think this is a great substitute.

    Yes agree on coffee table architecture books. But a book on a famous architect who is little known by the masses always goes down a treat and panders to his elite aesthetic sensibility.
    Check out the Taschen book at Folio books on Albert Frey for example – his architecture in Palm Springs is early modern and space age inspired – which is bound to appeal (since architects love technologies of travel and also sci fi – which is why they are never allowed choose dvds at Blockbuster).
    PS Modcom – Albert Frey
    Oh also Surfing lessons or scuba diving lessons. This will seem a little pointed. But might get him out of the office this summer.
    Outward bound course – do they have them for grown ups? Architects are fascinated by the romance of surviving in the wild.
    A Sea Kayak – if you get a double one, at the very worst you’ll get to spend some quality time with one of yr children.
    If you want to save money, get a child to do some tiny intricate scribble with an ink pen, and get them to repeat this motif across part of the page – it must be an asymetrical composition. Then photocopy it so it is faded looking – add an unusual short signature, put in a dark frame from Spotlight’s Martha Stewart range – and come up with a good story abt the artist and gallery.
    Any gift that is a visual pun. Architects love visual humour. For example, the freud watch at Qld State library shop – which has those subliminal messages popping up in thought cloud. Now go shopping!!!!

  4. What a great list of gift ideas and so apt! I know my archhubbie would be thrilled with a book about the History of Containers. He just gobbles up books like that and likes to regurgitate the contents…err, you know what I mean, share the love or whatever. I’ve learnt so much from him about the history of germs and steel, wordly goods, diseases, the balkans, alexander the great…you name it, I’ve been at the lecture. I reckon I’d blitz the Einstein factor on any number of historical subjects if only for my poor menopausal memory and something called a deaf ear which means I tune in and out once the lecture starts.

    I like the story bridge idea, an excellent and thoughtful gift. I’m worried if I gave him comics that he might become addicted, due to the obsessive nature of people in his profession. One must exercise caution, as with encouraging physical exercise. I barely see my archhubbie now that he’s taken up a sport in mid life.
    Now I know where to get that Freud watch – for me – thanks for the tip!

  5. View the ultimate range of Marimekko Fabric Wall Hangings at

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