Librairie boutique du Musée national Picasso, Paris
The Musée national Picasso-Paris has always had a museum gift shop offering books and items with a Picasso theme, but at the end of October it opened a second boutique. Facing the museum, it is a hybrid between a concept store and a gift shop. It spans three rooms and plans to regularly rotate its stock, but will always offer a mix of Picasso-related paraphernalia, products by young designers and exclusive art and design pieces for serious collectors. Its jewellery, made by Parisian designers, is especially popular. It has a large selection of homeware, such as hand-painted mugs and bowls from Portugal, tea towels made in France and pillows embroidered with Picasso’s art by an atelier in the south of France. The children’s section includes everything from English-language books on Picasso and Paris to handmade paper mobiles from Denmark. The most delicious items available are certainly the chocolate bars by chocolatier Petits Carreaux de Paris.
• Admission €12.50 (€11 concs), 4 rue de Thorigny, 75003, museepicassoparis.fr. Open Tues-Sun 10am-6.30pm including holidays
Museum der Dinge, Berlin
One of my favourite German phrases is “das ding”, which is a bit like the English word “thingy” – used to describe objects where the noun is unknown. One of the best places to practise using this phrase is the Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things) in Kreuzberg, which displays a beautifully arranged collection of everyday objects that show the development of product culture over the past century. Unsurprisingly, for a museum focusing on products, the shop itself also features a carefully curated selection of books and unusual gifts by contemporary designers. These range from trendy household objects, such as ceramic mugs that look like crumpled paper cups to origami Christmas decorations, with lots of small, cheaper, gifts such as notepads, posters and pop-up postcards to choose from. Demonstrating how good design can make anything seem alluring and desirable, there is a vending machine just outside the entrance to the shop, which sells “goody bags” for €4 stuffed with a selection of random objects, elegantly packaged in a transparent bag with information stapled to it. I bought one containing a red-and-white paper straw, some sweets, a pink sticky plaster and a postcard, which will make a fantastic present for a design-conscious friend I’m a bit annoyed with at the moment.
• Admission €6 (€4 concs), Oranienstrasse 25, D-10999, museumderdinge.org. Open Thurs-Mon, noon-7pm
Gallery & Co. at National Gallery Singapore
The much-hyped National Gallery Singapore finally opened at the end of November, and it has partnered with a new collective called “& Co.” to launch a shiny shop called Gallery & Co. Only one quarter of it is ready – the rest is expected to be unveiled by January 2016 – but it’s already chock-full of cool souvenirs. On top of exhibition catalogues and postcards of artworks, visitors can expect unique keepsakes, such as umbrellas and soaps inspired by notable pieces of art on show, minimalistic marble clocks, and characterful accessories and clothing. A well-known cafe, Plain Vanilla, has also opened a branch there serving a selection of breads, pastries, and cupcakes.
• Admission £9.50 (£7 concs), 1 St Andrews Road, nationalgallery.sg. Open Sun-Thurs and public holidays 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen
Despite being almost an hour from the city centre, design aficionados flock to this two-storey museum shop to stock up on cool, contemporary Danish design. A visit here can easily take just as long as the time spent among the works of art. You will, of course, find the usual catalogues and posters for current and past exhibitions, but about 40% of the items sold are clothes and accessories; scarves, shoes and handbags are especially popular. All the designs are Danish, and some items are specially created for the Louisiana, and not available elsewhere. Furthermore, you can find everything from tables and chairs to wine glasses, jewellery and toys, not to mention lots of books on art, architecture, photography and graphic design.
• Admission £11 (£9.50 concs), Gammel Strandvej 13, Humlebæk, en.louisiana.dk. Open Tues-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm, closed Mon
Museum of Contemporary Art store, Sydney
The MCA programmes a broad range of Australian and international art by practitioners of all disciplines, and this diversity is reflected on the shelves of its bright and airy shop. Savvy Sydneysiders rely on the MCA store for high-concept gifts that are surprisingly affordable, including bone-china bird feeders in pastel shades by Have You Met Miss Jones (about £10) and life-size geometric deer heads made from resin by Melbourne studio White Moose (about £50). In addition to its permanent stock, the shop sells mementos of the MCA’s temporary exhibitions: this festive season, there are gifts inspired by a major retrospective of UK ceramicist Grayson Perry’s work.
• Free admission, 140 George Street, The Rocks, store.mca.com.au. Open Fri-Wed 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-9pm
Dan F. Stapleton
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Just shy of a decade old, the ICA, Boston’s Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed harbourside showcase, remains one of the city’s most striking architectural features and has housed exhibitions by Anish Kapoor and Shepard Fairey. The eclectic store is every bit as thoughtfully curated as the museum. Cool curios for all ages and budgets abound, making it ideal whether you’re shopping for gifts for a college hipster: cheeky mugs, dorm lights and a mason jar cocktail shaker, or an eccentric aunt: a steel dinner bell triangle, maybe? Jewellery, bags and covetable home decor are all available, while less conventional items on the artfully arrayed shelves range from a Shaka Khan Percussion Recorder, which makes rhythms using anything from coins to jelly beans, to Blockitecture, a versatile set of pine blocks that can be transformed into elaborate miniature urban landscapes. The shop would be worth a trip for the book section alone, which is filled with coffee table gems.
• Admission $15 ($10 concs), 100 Northern Avenue, icastore.org. Open Tues-Wed and Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-9pm, closed Mon
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
On Skeppsholmen Island, Stockholm’s museum of modern art (Moderna Museet) houses 20th- and 21st-century art including a photography collection that dates to 1840. Its shop sells a wide variety of design-related and trendy gifts from interior decor, postcards and posters, over 3,000 books, catalogues, and bespoke literature and products related to its exhibitions. From architectural games and history puzzles of contemporary architecture between 1900-2010, futuristic circular vases and flower pots, invisible book shelves, and colourful toys for kids, you can also shop without leaving your home through its online boutique, which offers a wider selection of goods such as 1968 Andy Warhol exhibition posters and Moderna Museet’s own line of stationery, homeware, and decorative products.
• Admission £12 (£10 concs), Exercisplan, Skeppsholmen, modernamuseet.se. Open Tues, Fri 10am-8pm, Wed-Thurs and Sat-Sun 10am-6pm, closed Mon
Lola Akinmade Åkerström
Victoria and Albert museum, London
The V&A is a glittering jewel of a museum, its grand galleries displaying decorative arts from Arthur Rackham’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland to paper-thin Meissen porcelains and Chinese Buddhist sculpture. Along with this ravishing permanent collection, it stages exhibitions throughout the year on everything from the photography of Victorian eccentric Julia Margaret Cameron to the raven-black glamour of fashion star Alexander McQueen. This world of art, beauty and design is fully reflected in its glorious shop. It’s easy to lose a few hours here among the art books at any time, but come Christmas, the feast of delights expands to take in Letterpress beer mats (Drink More Gin), copper-dipped cashmere scarves (inspired by the Fabric of India exhibition), Snowshoe Hare crystal rings and a giant sausage dog eraser in pillar box red. Pick up a diary with illustrations by Eric Ravillous, Vogue fashion Christmas cards, or a limited edition print of John Rowlands iconic photograph of Bowie the Archer on his Station to Station tour. A true feast of delights.
• Free admission, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, vam.ac.uk. Open daily 10am-5.30pm
EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam
Cinephiles should visit one of Amsterdam’s newest major attractions in the Noord (north) neighbourhood. The EYE Film Institute’s curving, contemporary facade directly on the waterfront is hard to miss and the museum features a wide array of interactive exhibits. While temporary major exhibitions come with an admission fee, visitors can insert themselves into a silent movie using a green screen or curl up with a classic in a private viewing booth for free. Next to the glass-enclosed cafe, which has one of the best sunset views in the city, the gift shop is a treasure trove for film fans. As one might expect, the place has plenty of DVDs, T-shirts, tote bags, and classic movie posters from Hollywood’s golden age. Breaking Bad’s Walter White and a few familiar faces from recent cinema and television are sprinkled among old-school icons such as Nabokov’s pouting Lolita. Kids will love the toy section, while parents can immerse themselves in the expertly chosen collection of biographies, film books and international publications. As a bonus, the museum is a free, five-minute ferry ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station, making it easy to snag that last-minute gift on the way out of town.
• Film tickets €10 (€8.50 concs), IJpromenade 1, 1031KT, eyefilm.nl. Open daily 11am-9pm
Inside its famously curved, titanium walls, the Guggenheim Bilbao houses a museum shop that sends many an art, photography or design-aficionado into a head-spin. It’s large, well laid out, selective (few gimmicks) and clearly targets the Guggenheim’s international following of contemporary art-lovers. For example, once you’ve stroked Jeff Koons’ flowering Puppy outside, you can invest in a plywood version, or, more scarily, get a mini-version of Louise Bourgeois’ Mother – that predatory bronze spider on the back terrace. The usual mugs, T-shirts and umbrellas are there beside arty jewellery, Vista Alegre porcelain, wooden toys as well as a fantastic selection of international art, design and photography books. Diehards can even return without entering the museum itself as it’s located between the soaring atrium and the entrance.
• Admission €13 (€7.50 concs), Avenida Abandoibarra, 2 48009. Open Tues-Sun 10am-8pm (open Mondays July-August)
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