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10 vintage, antique and contemporary holiday gift ideas for design lovers

One-off vintage, antique and contemporary treasures that can be passed down for generations to come make for very special holiday-season gifts

Finding the perfect present can be a complex challenge. Different tastes, tightening budgets and large families adds huge pressure, with the vast plethora of choice also making the annual ritual something to be dreaded rather than enjoyed. And, if the person you’re buying for is somewhat fussy, or appears to have lots of things already, where do you even start? That’s why, in focusing on a collectible item, an investment piece, or a design classic that transcends fleeting fads and fashions, it can be a safe bet in giving something that will be treasured and appreciated for years to come.

So, budgets, tastes, and all other restraints aside, what does a fantasy wish-list look like? Does it contain items with a historic narrative, contemporary ceramics with a novel production process, or could it simply be a sculptural masterpiece or work of art that will stand out in any setting? And, while gifting wall art – a process that often remains very personal according to the viewer’s interpretation – may be a step too far, presenting treasures for the home is a sure-fire way to turn the heads of your family and friends.

Paperknife with Bookmark #6086 by Carl Auböck, €450

This solid brass design is a fantastic option for booklovers while being a great first foray into investing into collectibles from the modernist movement of the Auböck dynasty.

Woven Pine Decorative Storage Boxes, £325

Dating back to the early 20th century, these distinctive boxes provide a chic storage solution, ideal for lovers of Nordic style. The veneered pine strips interlock, showcasing the beauty of the artisanal craftsmanship which has gone into their creation. A practical gift which suits a wide array of interior schemes.

Mini Plopp Stool by Zieta, €540

Showcased here in a flamed gold finish, this eye-catching creation has won multiple awards and is fast becoming recognised as a design classic. The Polish studio uses FIDU technology to create the illusion of it being an inflated object.

Nesso Table Lamp by Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova for Artemide, €380

An iconic design statement and a great gift for maximalists. Made from orange plastic and now part of the permanent collection of MoMA, this original 1960s table lamp injects joy and colour into any home.

Brass Watering Can by Gentner Design, €470

For plant parents, this certainly raises the stakes of your plant care procedures. Handcrafted from solid brass, this is a watering can you won’t want to hide under the sink and is one that acts as a sculptural statement too. Matching bud vases complete this set from the US design studio.

Contemporary Ceramic Vase by Jaime Hayon, €1,005

This design is part of a wider collection which, when styled together, creates a playful, yet elegant, display. A superb gift for admirers of the Spanish designer’s work.

Dordogne Mid-Century Rush Stool by Charlotte Perriand, £995

While this design comes normally as a dining chair, this is a rare opportunity to find a matching stool which makes for a special gift, especially for lovers of mid-century craft and the work of Perriand.

Art Deco Glass Bowl, $370

Dating back to the 1920s, this original Austrian design has become popular once again over the last decade. Decorative or functional, it can be used as a fruit bowl or table centrepiece and complements both minimalist and maximalist settings.

011 Coupe by Lovebuch, €319

A gift for ceramic enthusiasts, this vase is handmade from sandstone. Possessing an earthy, organic glamour, the design is part of a wider series of work created by Katia Jacquet-Douek in her French studio.

Geometric Print Pillow, €110

A contemporary design with mid-century flair. Made with a linen-cotton blend fabric, this colourful cushion can be added to the bedroom or living room making a charming feature wherever it is placed.