Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap. Sure, it might be promoted by the greeting-card industrial complex, and the vast majority of the trinkets sold to honor it might be a little on the, shall we say, hokey side. The sentiment, though, is something we can all get behind. In the spirit of the season, we’ve chatted with some architects (and their significant others), who have suggestions that will take you beyond candy and flowers.
For architecture writer Terry Bissell, whose partner is architect Jim Jennings, her choice is an Ettore Sottsass–designed Olivetti Valentine typewriter from the late 1960s. It’s “shamelessly literal,” she says, “but that little blast of red (and orange spools!) becomes hearts and flowers in a black-white-gray design office.” You can find them online at Etsy and elsewhere.
If you’re searching for something more utilitarian but with flair and a fantastic backstory, the bags, wallets and pouches from Winter Session are a great treat says Iris Anna Regn, an architect and co-founder of Broodwork. “Architects and artists Roy Katz and Tanya Fleisher make utilitarian, everyday objects for men and women that exult in mindful craft. Winter Session is a labor of love (and the owners recently got married) run out of a storefront/workshop in Chicago.”
If a traditional gift is more your thing, we’ve got an inspired one. When we talked to architect Russell Greenberg (of Stickbulb fame) last week, he mentioned one of his own designs that we think would make a stunning, deeply personal Valentine’s gift. The Cameo by RUX is a ring in gold or platinum shaped from a photo of your (or your beloved’s) profile. Bangles, spinning tops, busts and baby rattles can also be crafted.
Keeping in a traditional vein, Meara Daly, a design communications strategist who happens to be married to architect Tom Perkins, gives a big thumbs up to ceramic pots handmade by Tracy Wilkinson in Los Angeles. “They are the perfect splurge gift you might not get for yourself,” she reports. “We use them for planters (or for holding those valentine flowers), in the kitchen for utensils, and in the office for pens!”
Of course, attorney Stacy Horth-Neubert, married to architect Aaron Neubert, of ANX, might just have the best gift idea of all, especially for someone in a creative field: a cleaning service for the office.