Context’s Ultimate Gift Guide

Ready for the holidays?  So are we!  We’ve surveyed our docents and city managers across the world to put together our ultimate gift guide.  The best part is that many of our selections are now available via web for those of you who don’t happen to be in the city of origin.  Happy holidays from the entire Context team.

Slide 1
What better gift to give to your favorite art lover than a museum membership. Even if you can’t visit all the time, these memberships are a great way to show support for the great cultural institutions found worldwide and you’d be surprised at how economical most are. Here is a short list of some of our favorite international museums that have yearly access passes: KHM Annual Ticket: €34 for year long access to 7 Vienna Museums Friends of The Uffizi: €60 per year, with options for families and youths myMaxxi: A variety of plans allow you to have access to Rome’s Zaha Hadid designed MAXXI Museum year round. Tate Members: You can become a Tate member starting at £62 a year and enjoy free access of exhibitions, access to a member rooom, Tate magazines and more at one of London’s premiere institutions. Musée d’Orsay: Membership to one of Paris’ best museums, also gains you access to the Orangerie for a year, admission to exhibitions, as well as discounts at the museum’s cultural partners. This is not to forget our American based museums, all of which offer full membership programs. With more and more international institutions beginning membership programs, chances are your recipient’s favorite may have membership opportunity.
Slide 2
Omotesandō, the Champs-Elysées of Tokyo, is lined with hundreds of shops, all sleek and contemporary, their glass-and-steel facades glittering in the sunlight that filters through the trees. And then there’s Oriental Bazaar, its traditional architecture and spiffy red and green paint job making it stick out like a store thumb. You’ll find plenty of tchotchkes here, but skip them and head straight for the vintage kimonos. Reasonably priced and available for both men and women and in a good range of Western sizes, these kimonos pack well and are light and chic, the summer antidote to a heavy winter robe. Oriental Bazaar 9-13 5-chome Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tel: +81 3400-3933 (closed Thursdays)
Slide 3
You don't need to be in Rome to take a piece home with you. Mona Talbott's cookbook, Zuppe, brings recipes from the American Academy of Rome's Sustainable Food Project to your kitchen. The recipes draw from classic Italian soups and are arranged seasonally. A great way to support an institution who brings great thinkers to Rome in order to further their academic research. Available online
Slide 4
Fashionistas looking to support local brands will be intrigued by Run by young Athenian designers, the website compiles the best of local fashion, such as this leather handbag by Rien. Map of retailers
Slide 5
For more quirky gift, London manager Petulia Melideo suggests London Undercover’s unique, made in the UK umbrellas. These lovely umbrellas are bringing back the concept of umbrellas as cool and totally British. London Undercover 20 Hanbury Street London, E1 6QR T: +44 (0)20 7377 1553 London Undercover also has a wide range of stockists worldwide. Web sales: Yes International Shipping: Yes
Slide 6
Spain client services manager Sara McCarty is thinking of buying a bunch of these beauties for Christmas presents. This lovely olive oil holder was designed by Catalan architect/designer Rafael Marquina in 1961. In fact, she learned about them on our Made in Barcelona walk! Stockist: Vincon Passeig de Gràcia, 96 08008 Barcelona T: (+34) 932 156 050 Websales: yes via Vincon’s website or Ancient Industries, a US based retailer International shipping: Yes
Slide 7
Italy manager Martina Dalla Riva wouldn't miss out on the special candle selection from the historic Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence, which was founded in 1612. Their special Christmas candle, red of course, has a handpainted Florence lily and holiday season scent! Farmacia Santa Maria Novella Via della Scala, 16 50123 Florence See website for stockists worldwide. Web sales: No
Slide 8
Tu Textile's colorful throw pillows are handmade in Beijing, printed on organic fabric with water-based ink. Started by two expats, one Australian, the other American, Tu Textile pillows combine traditional and contemporary Chinese designs with a Western spin. Pillows can be ordered from their website and delivered to your hotel. Stockist: Lily’s Antiques 69 Gaobeidian East Street 100025 Chaoyang District – Beijing T: +86 Web sales: Yes International shipping: Yes
Slide 9
Athens docent Smaro Touloupa recommends Attic Black, which produces the best replicas of ancient pottery. Created by experts based on ancient techniques their pieces feature in the Benaki and the Acropolis Museum shops, as well as the metro station exhibitions. Attic Black 50A Nikis str. & 6 Kydathineon str. Athens, GR-1055 T: +30 2103232005 Web sales: No
Slide 10
Valéria Fazekas' hats are more than just headwear, but pieces of wearable art. Designs range from casual to extravagant, with different shapes, sizes, and prices to fit every client. A graduate of the Hungarian Academy of Crafts and Design, Valeria's work exemplifies a growing design movement in Budapest. Her work has been lauded internationally as one of the best examples of local design in Budapest. Valéria Fazekas Váci u. 50 H-1056 Budapest Tel: +36 1 3375 320 Web sales: No
Slide 11
For those with cocktail lovers in their lives, we highly recommend locally made Bluecoat gin which is distilled right in Philadelphia, home to the Context US office, and available at any Pennsylvania fine wine and spirits shop. Bluecoat Gin US Stockists map Web sales: Yes International shipping: No
Slide 12
Genevieve Timmins loves the holiday blend gift baskets at Palais des Thés. In fact, each year she gifts it to the avid tea lovers in her life and it's always a big hit. In business since 1986, Palais des Thés runs a tea school in Paris, as well as private lessons in New York. Palais des Thés (flagship store) 64, rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris T: +33 1 48 87 80 60 (see stockist link for other Paris locations) International stockists Web sales: Yes International shipping: Yes
Slide 13
Pottery and tea are two of China's biggest exports, and Shanghai has both in spades. We've covered tea in our Hangzhou tea primer, so for the holidays we're recommending our favorite pottery shop, Spin. The sleek, bi-level showroom sells beautiful, reasonably-priced contemporary Chinese ceramics made by local artists in Jingdezhen, China's pottery capital. Spin 360 Kangding Road, corner North Shaanxi Road Tel: 86-21-6279-2545 Web sales: No
Slide 14
Berlin is a hub for creative thinkers, so if you looking to take a piece of that home, look to Bless. Central Europe manager Natalie Holmes recommends Bless as the perfect place to pick up fashions, design items, and conceptual art by local designers. Located in an uninhabited apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, it doesn't get more "Berlin" than this. Bless Oderbergerstrasse 60 10435 Berlin Tel: +493027596566 Open Thu, 16:00-20:00 or by appointment only Web sales: Yes Stockists
Slide 15
Yastık means "cushion" in Turkish and that is exactly what is on sale here - shelf upon shelf of cushions in a huge array of patterns and colors. The company was set up by internationally acclaimed Turkish fashion designer Rıfat Özbek in collaboration with Erdal Karaman. An extraordinary variety of fabrics are used to make the cushions, including Ottoman silks, to which Ozbek adds his very own touch, combining the eclectic and sumptuous, mixing motifs, shapes and colors from different cultures. The shop is the definition of "Made in Istanbul," which is why it's one of the stops on our Istanbul walking tour of the same name. Yastik Şakayık Sokak, Olcay Apt. No:13/1 Teşvikiye, Şişli / İstanbul Tel: +90 (0)212 240 87 31 Stockists Web sales: No
Slide 16
Would that we could recommend our favorite soy milk donuts from Nishiki Market, but they're not fit for travel. Locally made paper fans, on the other hand, last much longer, take up almost no space, and are a godsend come August; this is a gift that keeps on giving. Kyoto's Miyawaki Baisenan has since 1832 been selling a cornucopia of beautiful, hand-painted kyo-sensu, or Kyoto fans. Miyawaki Baisenan 80-3, Daikokucho, Rokkakudori-Tominokojihigashiiru, Nakagyo-Ku Tel: +81-7522-10181 Web sales: Yes, through J Shopper
Slide 17
Brooklyn Slate Company has wonderful, hand-cut slate coasters that can be chilled in the freezer in advance being used to keep your cocktail chilly. Sourced from the owner’s family slate quarry in upstate New York, these items are a great way to support local brands. Brooklyn Slate Co. 305 Van Brunt St. Brooklyn, NY 11231 Tel: (877) 648 8333 Stockists Web sales: Yes
Slide 18
There are endless amounts of chocolate in Paris, but Paris manager Lily Heise's choice is Patrick Roger. Billing himself as a chocolate artist, Patrick Roger's delicious creations are based on the sourcing of top quality ingredients. Patrick Roger Chocolates 108 boulevard Saint-Germain 75006 Paris Tel: +33 (0)9 63 64 50 21 Web sales: Yes International Shipping: Yes