Best Unique + Modern Holiday Gifts for People Who Have Everything
We all know someone who’s impossible to shop for during the holidays. The good news is we’ve thoughtfully curated a collection of the best unique and modern holiday gifts that even that person will love and enjoy every day – it’s a Christmas miracle.
There’s an undeniable correlation we all place between exclusivity and how much we pay for an item. But that doesn’t mean one can’t spend a more modest amount and still surprise a person who seemingly already owns everything…it just requires a different perspective that zones in designs taking a different approach toward commonly known functions, features, or forms. In other words, a surprise. Below are several designs – some on the high end, others landing in the affordable realm – chosen for their unique quality to delight from a novel angle. For more ideas on what to get those people who have everything, head to the Design Milk Shop here!
The Tetra Floor Light by hollis+morris
Floor lamps are ostensibly tied to a vertical form as a background ambiance – the bass player to your living room band. But my favorite floor lamps have always been shaped closer to the ground and glow with personality; I still fondly cite the Tom Dixon Jack Lamp as my first lighting purchase, chosen as much for its ambiance and head-turning design as for the illumination. The Tetra Floor Light’s geometric wireframe design is imbued with that same sort of “whoa, cool” presence, the sort of light source that guests will notice with great curiosity rather than ambivalence – a statement piece with the warmth of wood paired with the futuristic lines of light.
Daniel Arsham x Kohler 3D Printed Sink
With a creative’s eye paired with a technologist’s curiosity Daniel Arsham continually tip-toes that fine line between designer and artist. His latest collaboration with bathroom fixture brand Kohler for their artist editions represents the epitome of unique, special, and extremely limited (this may be the first and only sink that comes with a certificate verifying its authenticity and edition number). Each of the 99 limited edition Rock.01 3D-printed bathroom sinks shares an organic silhouette – evocative of a Japanese tsukubai washbasin lazily leaning against a stone – but also shows the telltale signs of additive coil layered printing, culminating in an object imbued with the presence of new and old at once.
Sureen Gouws in Open Mind by TOO Designs
Art for the walls remains an underrated gift idea. Maybe that’s because gifting art isn’t easy; it introduces the challenge of pleasing the recipient’s artistic sensibilities, something intended to conspicuously grace their walls. But what if you could offer something modern yet subtle? Sureen Gouws in Open Mind is a monochromatic hand-painted textured acrylic on wood relief piece that conceals a subtle transformative nature dependent upon the time of day and source of light. As the day progresses and the lighting changes, so does the surface and shadows cast across the subtle relief compositions, landing somewhere between painting and sculpture. Gift one for the art and architectural aficionado with a real affinity for minimalism…and an appreciation for the subtle changes throughout the day.
Desktop Jellyfish by Fukunaga Shikou
If you’re looking for a surprising stocking stuffer, consider this delicately cut paper Desktop Jellyfish mobile fashioned to respond gently at even the hint of a breeze. If you’ve ever stared wide-eyed at the aquarium watching jellyfish swimming with poetically unhurried movements, you’ll understand why this small gift might become a favorite meditative and relaxing focal point attached to a monitor or near a window – something anyone would benefit from during a harried and hurried work day to stare at occasionally.
Gravis Candle by nlumec
Candles have always been a ubiquitous decorative gift for the home, but thankfully a new generation of candle designs are breaking free from the ho-hum confines of the cylindrical toward more brazenly “weird” organic shapes thanks to additive 3D printing. The Gravis Candle’s mesmerizing pattern first draws the eyes and then tempts the fingertips to trace its texture. We also like these candles because they’re made with soot-free paraffin, meaning its warm glow won’t muck indoor air.
The Factory Rolling Ball Sculpture Game by Material Immaterial Studio
Imagine Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill’s cement factory-turned-iconic Brutalist residence La fábrica miniaturized down to desktop scale, and you’ve got the appeal of these sculptural playthings. Unlike its real-life architectural counterpart, The Factory Rolling Ball Sculpture Game includes a set of eleven steel balls to prod down its tiered lengths, spirals, and steps cast from concrete into and through its imaginary architectural landscape. It’s the sort of designer object that offers a soothing respite when you’ve hit a creative block, with the possibility the toy and the play it stirs a new perspective.
Alki White Pendant Light by graypants, inc.
There’s an undeniable theme of organic-meets-modern-technology visible across this gift guide, one acutely inhabited by this pebble-shaped handcrafted Alki White Pendant Light made from laser cut recycled cardboard that draws on the counterintuitive idea of a levitating rock. The shape is directly inspired by the designer’s own collection of pebbles gathered from three beaches near Seattle. Each lamp is engraved with the geographic coordinates of the original stone that inspired the lamp’s shape, meaning you’ll have a truly novel reason to visit the Washington coastline soon.
P17A All Electric by Polydrops
There’s more than a shade of the Tesla Truck’s folded metal angular aesthetics apparent in the Polydrops P17A All Electric trailer design, a mobile refuge guaranteed to invite questions everywhere its towed. It’s not quite as severe as that upcoming 4-wheel electric off-roader, but the chiseled teardrop shape should make for a complementary pairing with any electric vehicle equipped with a Class 1 or higher tow hitch. There’s a surprisingly spacious amount of sleeping room hosted within, and a set of integrated 260 watt solar panels delivers enough power to power an electric heater or 5000 BTU air conditioner, alongside a 2-burner induction kitchenette that slides right out from its hind that’s sure to ease any outdoor experience closer toward glamping than roughing it.
Screw Up Hook Set by Cloudnola
Oh, whomever you gift this trio of wall hooks will be totally screwed…but only in the best way possible. Sure, the Screw Up Hook Set of wooden hooks are the definition of whimsical, but they’re also inarguably useful for hanging any variety of objects. They’d make a particularly appropriate gift for the person in your life who is perpetually working on DIY projects in and around the home with screwdriver or wrench in hand.
Bread Lamp by East Fork
If you’re thinking, “That croissant looks awfully real!”, that’s because it is real. Baker and designer Yukiko Morita saves the unsold croissants and other baked goods she prepares from her bakery, then hollows them out, coats each of them in resin, and finally inserts AA-battery operated LED lights to magically transform cast off leftovers into the world’s most tantalizing handheld gluten-glowing light.
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