New East Digital Archive

Gift guide: give a little New East to your friends and family this Christmas

Gift guide: give a little New East to your friends and family this Christmas

Still stuck for what to give the concrete-fancier in your family? Look no further — we've handpicked a selection of stocking fillers to make Sovietologists and skaters swoon

16 December 2016

Brutalist colouring book

The colouring book craze has reached such heights in recent years that some have used it to justify sacking off social occasions for a quiet nights in with the pencil set. So why not treat the brutalist buff in your family to a colouring book dedicated to their favourite concrete constructions. Featuring spomeniks, the Yugoslavian anti-fascist monuments among its 36 pages, the book also makes a perfect gift for anyone who’s always wanted to brighten up the ugly grey edifices with a lick of bright paint, but been too afraid to try.

90s pins

Heart of Moscow, a popular brand producing souvenirs from the Russian capital, have released a new collection of pins inspired by Moscow in the 90s. A follow up to their Space ’61, Russian avant-garde and Moscow Zoo series, the 90s collection includes throwbacks such as the slinky, the ubiquitous Marianna shopping bag, Yeltsin and a squatting gopnik.

Gosha Rubchinskiy Eau de Toilette

Russia’s streetwear lynchpin, Gosha Rubchinskiy partnered up with Comme des Garçons to bring out his first ever perfume earlier this year. Skating has always been Rubchinskiy’s main inspiration for his clothing line and photography so it’s no surprise that “skateboarding on a summer day” is the smell he’s going for here. Even if you don’t like the whiff of tar and rubber with notes of angelica, buchu flower, mandarin seed, chamomile, styrax, vetiver and patchouli, the bottle makes for a great collectible item, much cheaper than that his slogan T-shirts. Rubchinkiy also released a Perfume photo book to coincide with the perfume, if the “eau de skater” is not available at Dover Street Market.

Cassiopeia Project x Aza Shadenova scarves

Aza Shadenova translates her Central Asian heritage — the artist is ethnically Kazakh, born in Uzbekistan but raised in Kyrgyzstan — into paintings, performances and lens-based works. Her latest venture is a limited edition series of silk scarves made in collaboration with London-based Cassiopeia Project and based on her Mothers and Daughters paintings. Each of the prints feature colourful Central Asian motifs but are equally influenced by her experience of moving to the UK. Available now from Calvert 22 Bookshop.

Cyrillic slogan socks

Image: Volchok/Facebook

Socks are a Christmas staple, so much so that we’re all secretly disappointed if we don’t find them in our stockings. This year, buy your friends a pair that’s on trend. Sputnik 1985 and Volchok are just two Russian streetwear labels that offer not only socks but T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets emblazoned with Cyrillic script a la Gosha, only without the hefty price tag.

Towards a Typology of Soviet Mass Housing set

Who knew that Soviet housing with its cookie-cutter conformity would translate into a 21st Century Christmas gift. Yet DOM Publishers have created a very nifty gift set that combines a book by Philipp Meuser and Dimitrij Zadorin on significant mass housing estates from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, together with a gypsum model of the most produced housing block, I-464, and an alternative to Christmas Day charades and Trivial Pursuit — an architectural Top Trumps.

Polish posters

Bird B2 Giclée Print Poster by BartoszSzymkiewicz

Poland has a rich history of avant-garde poster design, starting in the 19th century and continuing to today’s Warsaw International Poster biennale. There are plenty of contemporary designers keeping the legacy alive. Bartosz Szymkiewicz is a graphic and web designer, art director and illustrator, who’s responsible for the jazzy covers for The Very Polish Cut Outs vinyls but also sells posters and prints that combine words and image in unusual ways.

Sergei Sviatchenko postcards

Ukraine-born artist Sergei Sviatchenko mixes vivid colours with found material to create collages that are as charming as they are surreal. Fascinated with dreams, the collagist has created a series of postcards, now available at Calvert 22 Bookshop. Dreams features Sviatchenko’s best known collages while the Dreams 2 set, which includes text, could be made into a card game for which you make the rules.

Constructivist Moscow map

Constructivism connoisseurs will love finding this dual-language architecture guide to Moscow’s avant-garde landmarks in their stocking. The Constructivist Moscow map from Blue Crown Media features Melnikov House, Narkomfin and Shukov Tower which have all been under threat in recent years, as well as Soviet-era workers’ clubs, garages, commercial housing, factories and more. All the more reason to book a ticket to Moscow.