14 Charming Design Gifts for 2020
These 14 charming design gifts feature exceptional executions, yes. But they're as much about the cleverness of the ideas to create them in the first place. They're super cool designs conceived by people who were wearing fully loaded thinking caps. Some are handmade, some are mass produced, some come from independent artists and entrepreneurs, while others are brought to life by design houses known for their innovation and whimsy. All are charming design gifts available for you to purchase and present this holiday season, or enjoy for yourself anytime of year.
Uh, unless they're sold out or you missed the Christmas shipping deadline, in which case, consider them a collection of 14 charming design look-sees.
Note: products are priced as they were at printing. Pricing, and availability, are subject to change.
Tumi Ishi Wood Rock Balancing Blocks
Bring the rocky beach and mountain hikes to your desktop with Tumi Ishi Wood Rock Balancing Blocks. "Tumi ishi" is Japanese for piled stones, and refers to the precarious art of stone balancing in nature. These handsome indoor versions are handmade from different woods, with no 2 blocks the same in shape or look, and rock weights varying according to the type of wood carved to make them.
Sold in sets of 7, 11 (this listing), 17, and 22, Tumi Ishi Wood Rock Balancing Blocks will help you combat stress (or enhance anxiety) and pursue a state of Zen (or get progressively more frustrated) with every move. The blocks are intended to boost focus and attention, and promote creativity in kids and adults of all ages.
The Porthole Infuser
Martin Kastner's Portholes keep us on dry land, and swap out the pleasant visions of sailing the high seas with those of eating and drinking like a king. Or at least an avid foodie. The build-it-yourself windows to your hungry / thirsty soul hold infusions of alcohol, oils, and dressings that look as stunning as they taste.
The Porthole holds 13 ounces of your choice of liquid, and includes 4 different recipes for creating infusions as tasty as they are visually stunning placed on your bar or table. Bottles are 7" in diameter.
The Nessie Family Kitchen Utensils
The whole fam Nessie damily would like to take a swim in your kitchen brews and stews. Papa the colander spoon in your cooked pasta. Mama the ladle in your tomato soup and passion fruit punch. And Baby Nessie in your steaming hot flowering penis mug of chamomile tea.
MouseRugs? The Dude approves. One of these is really gonna to tie my desktop together.
MouseRugs shrink down famous Persian, Native American / Southwest, Chinese, and Colonial rug motifs into mousepads that will add some style and funk to your computer system setup. Created by FiberLok, the "rugs" are actually made from a material called Lextra Flock-Textured Graphics, which the company describes as having a "soft, textile-like surface that is very pleasing to the touch."
Heng Balance Magnetic Switch Lamp
Newton's Cradle meets abacus meets the first day of creation in the Heng Balance Lamps. Li Zanwen created his series of beechwood desk lamps with a pair of magnetic wooden balls on strings at the center that attract and hold one another suspended in their field when "latched" together. Even cooler, this action also triggers the light's internal switch, flicking it on when the balls are both hovering, and off when you pull the bottom ball away.
Butts on Things Stickers, Pins & Artwork
What's up, Taco Butt? Hey there, TARDASSSS! Yo, yo, I see you've got S'more junk in the trunk. No insult and no judgement with my comments, just a sheer appreciation for your Butts on Things sticker, pin, and artwork scores from freelance illustrator Brian Cook.
In his Butts on Things collection, Cook takes everyday objects and pop culture darlings, and, well, slaps an ass on them. A perky, adorable ass that you (and everyone you meet) will probably want to slap right back. Or at least pinch, rub, or kiss for good luck.
Egguins - Cook, Store & Serve Egg Holder
Squee! your hearts out for the Egguins, ladies and kiddos...and dudes who are being honest. Peleg Design's new egg holder uses the arms of penguins to cradle your delicate shells as their own bellies - so precious! - and then lower them gently into...hard boiling water that will surely cook the penguins along with the eggs. Huh. From precious to disturbing in 5 seconds or less.
The Floating Mug
One biting comment I could make about Tigere Chiriga's Floating Mug is...hmmm...donut hole. I got nothin'. It's just a simple, yet truly novel design, whose purpose is as terrifically useful as its look is incredibly cool. Chiriga invented the Floating Mug for two reasons: 1) he loves tea; and 2) he wanted to get his wife off his ass.
Condensation rings from ever-present cups and mugs left on the couple's new furniture were creating some domestic discontent, and although Chiriga had seen many mugs designed with built-in coasters of sorts, he felt most took away the tactile pleasure of holding a warm porcelain cup in his hands, or were uglier than the east end of a horse headed west. His Eureka moment came when grabbing a suspended banana off its holder. See, hovering bananas...hovering mugs...aaand the Floating Mug is born.
iHarvest Indoor Hydroponic Garden
The iHarvest attempts to give indoor gardens and hydroponic growing systems a boost and a face lift. An automated, fully self-contained planter, the iHarvest can both grow up to 30 fruits, vegetables, and herbs in a 2.5-square-foot floor space, and has a sleek, flat-backed vertical design that allows it to go virtually unnoticed installed up against a wall or refrigerator.
OK, well not really on that last part. The iHarvest is anything but subtle. More like the king peacock, or Katy Perry, of home decor. But pairing an illuminated white housing with a silver-legged base, and then adding bursts of nature's own greens, reds, yellows, and other Roy G Biv selections to the mix will presumably draw the good kind of attention, the admiring and coveting kind, from you, your family, and your friends. Again, just like a king peacock or Katy Perry.
Aura Glass Non-Spill Drinking Glasses
Since most of us spin and swish our glasses of wine and whiskey to aerate them anyway, Aura Glass has come up with a (mighty fine looking, I must say) way to do it without sloshing the wine and whiskey all over the table. And - oops - the cat. Approaching wine and spirit consumption with a "new pourspective," Aura Glass' contemporary and functional design adds a stainless steel ball to the bottom of a stemless-style wine glass to facilitate spill-free swirling.
Scented Herb Temporary Tattoos
Yes, ma'am I do have a tattoo of rosemary on my arm. Wanna smell it? ... No, wait! It's not scratch 'n' sniff, it's.... Yes ma'am, I now have a tattoo of chopped rosemary on my arm....
Tattly, courtesy of botanical watercolor artist Vincent Jeannerot, has gathered a bouquet garni of herbs and turned them into temporary tattoos with an odiferous twist. A collection Simon & Garfunkel would be proud of, these tatt sheets are printed with pretty snips of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Sparta Knife Block
I think the Sparta Knife Block is even better than the Ex Knifeholder because while they are both clever ideas, the Sparta version connotes a brave and stoic warrior defending me instead of an angry and vengeful woman puncturing my vital organs, and is therefore less scary for me to look at. And even if he's on the attack, I think I would rather look at a Spartan aiming a 9' spear at me in the eye than my ex-girlfriend Karen aiming her eye at me in the eye any day.
Bookniture - Furniture in a Book
You don't need to know how to read to dig in to this book. Open the pages of Bookniture, and where you might normally find a Tolkien story you'll instead encounter an entire stool or side table Gandalf-ed into existence. And yes, you can absolutely sit or set things on it. As long as you / they weigh less than 1,000 pounds.
Designer Mike Mak came up with Bookniture out of the personal desire to give visiting friends an alternative to sitting on the floor, without stuffing more stuff into his already stuffed apartment. And both his idea for and execution of these origami accordions in books are pretty damn brilliant. Made of cardboard and a double-sided felt seat pad, Bookniture pieces are lightweight, ultra compact when closed up, and as burly as they come when unfurled. Truly, they have been tested to hold up to half a ton of weight.
Clay in Motion Handwarmer Mugs
If toasty hands indoors and out are on your drinking wish list, Clay in Motion's series of Handwarmer Mugs will help counter the degrees of a cold room or chilly spring night with the degrees of a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.
The Handwarmer Mugs come in a dozen or so different color combinations, as well as your choice of a Righty or Lefty warming grip. Capacity is 14 ounces, and they're all dishwasher and microwave safe.