what do you want

8 Architects on the Gifts They Want for the Holidays

Imagine getting Le Corbusier as your Secret Santa! Photo: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images

Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes to find out exactly what to get that serious cook, or golf dad, or picky teen girl in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or, at least, a very helpful starting point. Today, we turn to eight architects (who could stand in for the aesthetically superior minimalist in your life) on the stuff they want, much of which is, not surprisingly, black.

“I just saw one of these pink Himalayan salt trays, and I covet it because it is such a fantastic new material; it’s stunningly beautiful and stunningly simple — you cook on it; if you lick it, it tastes like salt! It’s a solid slab made of crushed pink salt; ethereal and beautiful and functional, too.” — Barbara Bestor

“Right now, I’m dying for a pair of Church’s Shannon Derby’s. Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed working with several talented designers [two Rachel Comey stores, and most recently an Ulla Johnson store] and haven’t really shopped much. Recently, I discovered Church’s shoes and cannot wait to get my hands on these.” — Elizabeth Roberts

“I received a cast-iron skillet for my birthday, and I thought that was a good architect gift. It’s black, it’s an archetype, it’s sort of without design, and architects need to cook more.” Jacob Segal

“I’m a moderate indoor-tropical-plant aficionado — I think having a lush indoor oasis is a great way to visually escape from the hard edges of city life. Generally, I believed fake plants were not intended for use outside of dentists’ offices and truck-stop casinos in Louisiana. But after a beautiful five-foot dracaena plant I bought in the ‘28th Street Plant District’ last winter started to turn yellow and wither away, despite receiving rigorously scheduled waterings, I decided I’m ready to go fake! And these Nearly Natural plants seem to go above any previous notions I may have had about the quality and realism of simulated flora. I think I’ll still go for the real thing most of the time, but for the big-ticket centerpiece, I just can’t stand to watch another $100 plant bite the dust.” Peter Feigenbaum

“We love this ‘Healing From Capitalism’ linen beach throw, arguably an all-season comfort. It’s available on Print All Over Me, a fellow alumni of New Inc., the incubator initiative of the New Museum. And as we witness the accelerated undoing of rights to reproductive health care, we’d like to give our dollars to the New York Abortion Access Fund, which fights for bodily autonomy against many intersecting conditions that limit choice.” — Feminist Architecture Collaborative

“Architects are notorious for their monochromatic wardrobe: all-black everything. It makes getting dressed easier amid a hectic schedule, while still managing to look pulled-together. No. 1 on my wish list is Gucci’s Leather Horsebit loafers.” Cassie Drake

“I want this Artemide task lamp that gives warm, bright light. It’s perfect for sketching or drafting at your desk.” — Julia Marani

“Lamy fountain pens with refillable cartridges are a classic, and much less expensive than other fancy pens. And I want this knife, which is functional, sharp, long-lasting, and well-designed. It’s Anthony Bourdain’s favorite chef’s knife.” — Nicholas Batie

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8 Architects on the Gifts They Want for the Holidays