Although the yearly Christmas gift-giving tradition can feel like senseless consumption, it doesn’t have to be. Our gift guide Made in Belgium wants to highlight Belgian craftsmanship and creativity: we’ve selected 11 items from Belgian designers, photographers, and other passionate creators that should please even the biggest Christmas skeptic. Happy shopping!
1 Design: Marina Bautier Accessories
Just in time for Christmas, Marina Bautier, one of Belgium’s most renowned furniture designers, launched her very first accessories line. It includes a multitude of different items in her typical no-nonsense, timeless style inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design. Highlights are the stunning, handmade ceramics created in collaboration with Belgian artist Marie Brisart, elegant cast iron cookware, as well as the comfy and stylish pictured scarf developed with Mourne Textiles, a family-run hand-weaving studio established in 1947 in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Everything is exclusively available in Marina’s shop in Brussels’ Forest!
2 Art book: Urban Potters by Ludion
Clay is back: the age-old craft of ceramics is being embraced by a new generation of urban makers and collectors, and Belgian publisher Ludion just released a not only gorgeous but also well-researched book on the subject. “Urban Potters: Makers in the City” explores the contemporary revival of pottery, focusing on six inspiring cities and their makers. 27 passionate ceramicists in New York, London, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Sydney and Sao Paulo present their work, their studios and their inspiration.
3 Beauty: CÎME gift box
CÎME is a Belgian natural cosmetics brand featuring valuable ingredients from the Himalaya region, inspired by ancient traditions of agriculture, herbal medicine and traditional craftsmanship. All products are 100% natural, made from renewable resources and aim to minimise carbon emissions. Additionally, CÎME’s founders, two Belgian friends, work with local communities and give a part of the sales to non-profit initiatives aimed at improving the livelihoods of people living in remote parts of the Himalayas. You can check out the whole line here.
4 Printed Matter: Re-Do Notebooks
Re-Do papers is a fascinating project by Linde Luyten and Tille Lingier, two young graphic designers from Antwerp. Using misprint and surplus papers from print shops, the two create absolutely unique, handmade
5 Food & drinks: Belgian Whiskey
Did you know there’s Whiskey Made in Belgium? And it doesn’t even have to hide behind its Scottish counterparts: in 2011, Belgian Owl was voted European Single cask Whisky of the Year, with a score of 95.5%, in the Jim Murray’s renowned Whiskey Bible. Belgian Owl is made from barley grown (with sustainable agriculture) in Hesbaye, and is available in several different aromatic intensities. By the way, malt and water are the only ingredients of a Single Malt Whiskey. Cheers!
6 Jewellery: Sara Esther’s Moon Drops
Just in time for the holiday season, young Belgian jewellery designer Sara Esther released her Moon drops collection inspired “by the brightness of the moon and the depth of the abyss”. The unlikely combo of brass pieces and baroque pearls makes for a mesmerising effect. Earrings that are elegant but out-of-the-ordinary.
7 Art: Artlead Editions
Artlead, launched by former SMAK curator Thomas Caron, is built on the belief that collecting art shouldn’t depend on who you know, where you live or how much money you have. Accordingly, Artlead’s online shop has an “under 500€” search section available, making works by renowned artists such as Martin Parr, Robert Montgomery or Juergen Teller accessible to art lovers with smaller bank accounts. Of course there are also affordable pieces by Belgian artists on offer including Leo Gabin, Vincent Geyskens, and Nel Aerts.
8 Greenery: Fresh flowers by Bloomon
Since November Bloomon is finally available in all of Belgium. The flower delivery service’s bouquets are exceptionally well-styled, playing with different levels, structures, and light – not the average arrangement you’ll get at a mainstream florist. Plus, Bloomon offers gift cards with which the beneficiary can choose himself when he’d like to receive a fresh bouquet.
9 For the senses: Graanmarkt 13
You probably already know Graanmarkt 13, a super cool concept store in Antwerp featuring not only a shop but also a restaurant and a rooftop garden. Inspired by the latter, Graanmarkt 13 just launched a new family of plant-based products which all were created together with master chef Seppe Nobels, British nose ‘Perfumer H’, the renowned candle makers at Cire Trudon and Sanguisorba’s herbalist Bart Belmans. The new botanical range includes fragrance as well as a scented candle which not only smell delicious but also look stylish.
10 Music: AB Concertcheque
It’s not always easy to buy concert tickets for someone else: how do you know if they’ll have time on a specific date? Ancienne Belgique’s concert voucher navigates you around this potential faux pas: you choose the amount you like, and the lucky receiver of the gift can use the voucher, which can be delivered as an e-ticket or as a paper ticket in an especially designed AB envelope, for any gig he fancies. And looking at the upcoming program after Christmas, there’s something in store for everyone: from Stereophonics and Liima to Iron & Wine and Jake Bugg.
11 Photography: Bieke Depoorter’s As It May Be at Tipi
At her young age, Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter is already a member of renowned photographic cooperative Magnum – quite an achievement! Brussels’ Tipi bookshop, an absolute treasure trove for photography and independent publishing fans, now has something special in store: signed copies of Bieke’s “As It May Be”, the fascinating result of her regular travels to Egypt, for example during the Arab Spring. Travelling through the country, the photographer also explores the downside of the uprising. During this time of great uncertainty and mistrust, she spent almost each night in another family’s home, searching for intimate moments looking beyond politics.