Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

This site uses cookies. By using our services, you agree to our cookie use.
Learn more here.

What to buy an architect this Christmas

Stressing about what to get the architect in your life? The AR has you covered

The gift-giving season is here – and chances are if you’re reading this, you have to buy something for an architect, prompting fears of the disparaging looks your gifts might receive when they are just not quite right. Fear not: the AR’s fight against mediocrity also extends to presents, and here we have selected a few architects’ favourites.

Original handmade porcelain terrazzo cache pot

Original handmade porcelain terrazzo cache pot

1. Terrazzo

Any kind will do. Architects love terrazzo. A surplus tile makes a charmingly upcycled gift of a coaster / bookend / placemat / kitchen trivet. You can now buy plant pots made of terrazzo. Architects also love house plants. If you’re feeling generous and know someone who is re-doing their bathroom there are also some chic terrazzo basins out there.

Stabilo point 88 fineliner pens sm 960x

Stabilo point 88 fineliner pens sm 960x

2. A pen

Architects really love pens. Pretty much any pen from Stabilo, Rotring or Muji will prove a successful gift for the architect in your life. Go for a plastic gel pen if you’re on a budget, or spend a little on an aluminium retractable pencil. And of course, don’t just buy the one – they tend to go missing fairly quickly. For the no-holds-barred approach, go for the aluminium fountain pen – less practical perhaps, but certainly sleek.

Cos black tops

COS black tops

3. Black

Have you heard the joke about architects wearing black? Well, yes. If that still feels relevent or amusing then head to COS for architect-friendly attire. But challenge yourself more in the Zaha Hadid in Issey Miyake direction, versus the t-shirt and blazer black of, say, Jean Nouvel.

Ar packshot fullaccess (1)

Ar packshot fullaccess (1)

4. Obviously an AR subscription

Ideas, innovation and inspiration since 1896. We have digital and print + digital packages – as well as a 30 per cent discount for students. Find out more about subscriptions options here. Literally the perfect gift for any architectural student you know, in fact for any student, any architect or anyone interested in the world around them. 

76848w

76848w

5. Perfume

Do architects wear perfume? Maybe, but probably only occasionally and from somewhere like Le Labo. Commes des Garçon is cheaper but still stylish and – if it is not too literal (it definitely is) – the scent pictured above will satisfy any fan of Brutalism.

4132e3782057fd55eebb4438b499ddb2 original

4132e3782057fd55eebb4438b499ddb2 original

6. An ostrich pillow 

If you know anything about the work/life balance of practising architects they will be equal parts grateful and depressed by this gift.

Gift 2019

Gift 2019

7. Barbican gift membership

This year, because Santa told us you were very good, all registered AR readers can receive 15% off a gift membership at the Barbican. Receive free entry to all gallery exhibitions, priority booking and discounted tickets, as well as access to the Members’ Lounge at Chamberlain, Powell and Bon’s Brutalist masterpiece. Simply register for free here and find your discount code under My Account > Special offers. You get to start exploring the AR (and receive our excellent curated viewsletters) and the architect in your life gets a Barbican membership. It’s mutually beneficial for all parties, including your Christmas party.

Snapshotimagehandler 935404874

Snapshotimagehandler 935404874

8. Non-dairy milk

An unusual gift perhaps, but with over 400 practices signing up to Architects Declare – acknowledging the ‘paradigm shift’ required in the construction industry to tackle the climate emergency – veganism is gaining traction. 

Anglepoise 90 mini mini collection 1200

Anglepoise 90 mini mini collection 1200

9. A lamp

Architectural work requires good light. And architects like nicely designed lamps.

Detail paper

Detail paper

10. Detail paper

If all else fails, plump for detail paper. You might not receive great thanks when it is unwrapped, but you can guarantee it will go to good use. Perhaps they’ll thank you a few months later.