Shopping Guide

7 Gifts For Your Architect or Designer Friend

These design-related books, toys, and accessories are so fab you’ll want them for yourself. Great for the design enthusiast, too!


Some architects and designers are notoriously picky about their gifts. But before you give them another shapeless black sweater, why not give them something that will pique their interest, or remind them of why they got started in design in the first place? Here are some Real Living designer holiday gift ideas at different price points:

Gota de Leche 2017 Calendar

The 110-year-old, beautiful Gota de Leche building in Sampaloc, Manila is one of the favorite structures of heritage enthusiasts. But behind the lovely building is the hardworking Gota de Leche foundation that provides nutritional needs to indigent mothers and infants. Landscape architect and urban planner Paulo Alcazaren’s sketches of Gota and many other popular heritage sites are in the 2017 Gota de Leche desk calendar, and proceeds from the sale will go to their feeding programs. To buy the calendar, go to their Facebook page.

Muji's City In a Bag

From the purveyors of Japanese minimalism comes the “City In a Bag” collection, which feature carved wooden miniatures of famous cities such as London, Paris, and Tokyo. Originally meant as toys for kids, grown-up design freaks would also appreciate a miniature Chrysler Building and Guggenheim Museum. Buy them at Muji stores at Greenbelt 3, Rockwell, and Bonifacio High Street or click here.

Seletti Palace Dinnerware

Italian ceramics brand Seletti has always been at the cutting edge of design, featuring delicate dinnerware with off-kilter, whimsical touches. One of their most popular pieces is the Palace collection, which are stacking plates designed to look like actual 18th-century Italian buildings. Available at Dimensione, One Parkade, Bonifacio Global City.

Tiny Pantone Objects Book

This is the perfect gift for the OC graphic designer or art director who’s always obsessing about getting that exact Pantone hue! In Tiny Pantone Objects, graphic designer Inka Mathew visually describes color through small, everyday objects, like an acorn or a Lego head, paired with exact Pantone hues with the help of the Pantone Matching System. Available at National Book Store.

Metropolitan Theater Model by Chisel and Mouse

UK-based group Chisel and Mouse creates architecturally correct, finely detailed, scaled miniatures of famous buildings like Bauhaus Dessau, Flatiron Building, and Buckingham Palace out of fine bone china. One of their creations is an intricate bone china model of our very own Metropolitan Theater. To order, click here. A collection of Chisel and Mouse’s other building miniatures are available locally at KISH.

Arellano Vase

While we’re on the topic of the Metropolitan Theater, might as well go for Ito Kish’s Arellano Large Vase, which pays homage to the theater’s famous architect Juan Arellano. The rectangular vase features the scrolls, arabesques, and geometric forms seen inside and around the Metropolitan Theater. Available at Ito Kish Home.

Hue Can Do It! Manila Coloring Book

We’re probably saturated with too many adult coloring books, but we shouldn’t miss out on Hue Can Do It! Manila’s coloring book. Illustrated by architecturally-trained artist Asa Montenejo, this coloring book features many pages of popular heritage buildings such as El Hogar building and the Manila Post Office, as well as obscure and demolished beauties such as the Hotel del Oriente and the Zobel Mansion. This affordable but memorable gift is available at National Book Store.

PHOTOS Main photo from; others from Muji, Vincent Coscolluela, Chisel and Mouse, Ito Kish Home

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