As Sunday June 21 approaches, you might be thinking, I’ve done whiskey stones, whiskey glasses and the obligatory socks, now what?
This time last year I nipped into a well-known department store to pick up a token gift for Father’s Day. While it’s never been a big deal in our house, you can’t show up with your hands hanging either.
Diligently following the clearly marked signs, I happened upon the Father’s Day display, and stopped in my tracks. All the items were a bit young? A tropical shirt and slogan t-shirt were certainly far too great a leap for my perennially v-neck and shirt-clad parent.
Then it dawned on me, dads were my age now too. Father’s Day is now about my mates who are dads, my friends’ partners, my colleagues, people my age… I am dad-age.
With this in mind, I’ve put together a modern gift guide for design-minded dads; stuff my own father might not particularly like, but your dad or your partner might.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8, €300
Decent earphones are a real treat that upgrade the everyday. While there’s a number of brands offering great quality sound, none compare stylistically to Bang & Olufsen, whose elegant earpieces marry good design with top-class technology.
While I personally rate and can vouch for the Beoplay E6s – though the battery life isn’t amazing at just 5 hours – the newest iterations are the Qi-certified wireless Beoplay E8s, which come in a lush leather-wrapped portable charging case.
A handmade knife
A Hugo Byrne hand-forged knife currently being raffled for MASI
Here’s one that can seem like a bit of a bowling ball present, but having gifted a Hugo Byrne knife to someone at Christmas, I can report that it brings much joy. It feels nice, has a lovely weight, and there’s no distracting space-age technology. It is what it is, and what it is is beautiful and useful.
With a waiting list of around 12 months, you’re actually looking at Father’s Day 2021 really, but try a raffle ticket while you wait. For a €10 ticket, all proceeds go to MASI, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, to end direct provision in Ireland, and you can enter as many times as you like before June 19. Knife prices typically range from €185 – €350 depending on the size, while the raffle prize is worth €400.
Ethiopia Hunkute Washed, £7, from Baillies Coffee
I’ve noticed that coffee seems to become very important to dads of young kids very quickly, so giving this daily – or hourly – ritual a little perk is money well-spent.
While the Kinto brass brewer, pictured top and available from Indigo & Cloth for €200 with 4 cups, is hands-down the chicest option, for that price, you could also get a pretty good auto brewer.
3fe have the Wilfa Svart Classic + Coffee Maker in stock for €180, while Proper Order have the Moccamaster KBGT 741 for €220, or simply plump for a bag of fruity Ethiopian coffee, which is coming into season now.
Elsewhere, a coffee subscription from Bailies Coffee is the gift that keeps on giving, and tiers are available in under £50, under £100 and under £150 options. Or try Calendar Coffee in Galway, with gift subscriptions starting from €48.
Nike Daybreak SP, €100
Nike keep releasing their classic 1979 silhouette in new colourways, and the Nike Daybreak SP in Topaz Gold, available from Size?, really marries the past and present.
The up-turned toe, or upper, nods to its roots as a running shoe, but the translucent base mixed with the traditional gold suede keeps it fresh.
Irish Seaweed & Activated Charcoal Soap from Oxmantown Skincare, €10
If ever we’ve appreciated posh soaps, it’s 2020. These sturdy ones are made of exfoliating segments of Atlantic seaweed, with extracts of rosemary and eucalyptus, and are a nice stepping stone to the gorgeous hydrating balms, oils and lotions from the Stoneybatter-based, Oxmantown Skincare.
A light scarf
Claíochaí Scarf, €220
It might seem like the wrong time of year, but this 20% cashmere and 80% merino scarf from Inis Meáin should be light enough to comfort on chillier days, or when evenings draw in outdoors.
Called the Claíochaí or Stonewall scarf, it is inspired by the dry stone walls of the island, and uses a large range stitches. The contemporary brand also have a 100% linen Aran scarf, available in vibrant orange and pale grey-blue, priced €125.
If you’re endured dad jokes about lockdown being a lock-in, then this is the gift for you.
And Union, describe themselves as “modernist Bavarian beer” and their packaging puts us in mind of Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design, in particular “Good design is as little design as possible”.
Look how beautiful the can is! Inside is a grassy and fizzy old school lager, with a tame 5% ABV. You’ll find it in independent off-licences around Ireland, priced at 4 for €10.
Closer to home, Dublin-based Whiplash have a selection of cans (from €4.50) and slabs (€54 for 24), with next day delivery if you order before 12pm Monday-Thursday, emblazoned with collage artwork by Sophie De Vere.
Lastly, Irish micro brewery Hopfully Brewing Co. describe themselves as “combining the art of brewing with visual arts”, which is very accurate.
It was their now-sold out Paula McGloin-illustrated Sakura single hop can that first caught our eye, while the latest is a cheery citrusy pine pale ale, called Indoor Yoga, illustrated by Fuchsia MacAree. It is available for delivery, within two working days, and costs €36 for 12.
Eileen Gray, exhibition catalogue, designed by Irma Boom, €60
Buying books can be a tricky one, unless you have access to analyse what’s on their shelves already. A new book is a safer bet, and Eileen Gray, edited by Cloé Pitiot and Nina Stritzler-Levine is a gem.
Technically it a catalogue, published by Yale Books to accompany a postponed retrospective due to open at New York’s Bard Graduate Center Gallery in February 2020, and is a weighty one at that, with over 500 pages.
Inside is a collection of essays by academics, architects and designers that gives in-depth and new insight into the life and work of the Wexford-born furniture designer and architect, including contributions by Jennifer Goff.
Best of all, it’s designed by Dutch graphic artist and bookmaker Irma Boom, who was assisted by Eva Bemmelen, and with its wonderful graphic treatment and striking graphic edge, is a work of art in itself.
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