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The Globe and Mail

Seven surprising gift ideas for the design-inclined

Outrageous Fortuny

When I retire to my palazzo in Venice (still, ahem, to be bought), I intend to adorn it with rich Fortuny textiles, perhaps the loveliest extant. Until then, I will have to wistfully thumb through Brian D. Coleman’s sumptuous new survey of actual residences bedecked with the company’s fabrics, still manufactured on the same machines in the same Venetian factory as they were 100 years ago. The book, published by Gibbs Smith, documents homes from Italy to Atlanta. Coincidentally, Fortuny textiles have just become available in Canada, exclusively (and to the trade only) at Télio in Toronto ( Fortuny Interiors, $85 through – Danny Sinopoli

Burning desire

Twin sisters Dawn and Samantha Goldworm have turned their olfactive-branding savoir-faire into a stunning collection of perfumed candles housed in Limoges porcelain containers covered in a dimpled pattern by designer Faye Toogood. Of the five scents, A Dark Affair’s enigmatic bouquet of smoked wood, incense and amber is especially noteworthy, providing a seductive antidote to cold winter nights.12.29 scented candle, $150 (U.S.) through – Amy Verner

A damp amp

I am not a closet shower crooner, belting out old standards as I shampoo, rinse and repeat. (Honestly, I’m not.) But it would be great to listen to the news while I do so. Enter Kohler’s wireless (and water-resistant) Moxie speakers, which come in four spiffy colours, dock directly into Kohler showerheads and play up to seven continuous hours of music, news or podcasts. (Yes, that last feature, unless you like Wagner’s Ring Cycle in the morning, may be overkill, but isn’t the very fact of it a blast?) Moxie wireless speakers by Kohler, $171 each ($229 with showerhead) at Kohler dealers across Canada (visit for locations). – D.S.

Mouth piece

Although I generally loathe rodents, I have taken quite a shine to this lustrous pencil sharpener/ paperweight/ideal stocking stuffer, designed by Rodrigo Torres for Alessi and made of chrome-plated zamak (a zinc aluminum alloy). For one thing, it grinds dull pencil tips to a fine point like a real beaver might a log. For another, it’s nonkitschy Canadiana that I’d be proud to have out on my desk. (It matches the paper clips!) Kastor pencil sharpener by Rodrigo Torres for Alessi, $89 at Alessi in Montreal (514-316-4560) and Toronto’s Rolo, which also has an online store ( – D.S.

Art fare

Normally, I wouldn’t advocate giving art, which can be highly personal and prohibitively expensive, as a present, but the offerings at Art Interiors, the unpretentious Toronto-based gallery founded by Lisa Diamond Katz and Shira Wood in 1993, are so well-curated, diverse and affordable (prices start at $25). If you don’t live in Toronto, don’t worry: Art Interiors delivers across Canada and internationally. And its annual Festival of Smalls, a showcasing of small-scale pieces between $55 and $250 (all of them displayed online), runs until Christmas Eve. (I especially like the work of photographer Angela Cameron, whose Vintage Carnival Swings is shown here.) Original art in a range of media by more than 175 artists from across Canada, $25 to $6,500 at Art Interiors ( – D.S.

Light show-y

Art director and set designer Tahir Mahmood is best known for his lamps made of stacked, colourful components, but it’s his copper-and-brass Sunehra fixture with a warm Edison bulb that I’ve been eyeing for a while. The piece is made in the same Colombo factory that created iconic lighting for Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Sunehra lamp, $625 through Caviar20 ( – Andrew Sardone

Vroom vroom

London’s Playforever makes design-conscious toy race cars, airplanes and motorbikes using kid-friendly materials. For grownups, the bright colours and simple shapes also make them perfect for propping an eclectic coffee table or bookcase. Playforever Midi 2 Clyde toy race car, $49.99 at Hudson’s Bay ( – A.S.

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