Material Expression

Rejuvenated from a much needed holiday & food coma followed by an extremely drawn out siesta, we felt it only right to reflect on the universally intriguing and more often than not stress-inducing process that is gift giving.  In early civilizations, the art of giving was a simple, stripped back exchange between fellow tribes and their leaders, often using bark and wood to express their innermost thoughts.  Heck, if only we all had as much appreciation for a bit of bark.  These days, gift wrapping is as much an art as the gift itself, where the carefully selected item can find itself being twisted, turned stacked and folded into a papery, plastic air-bubbled formation adjourned with a ribbon, string or an excessively curly, metallic mess.  In this day and age, things have been slightly flipped on their head and the whole gift phenomenon has morphed into a freakishly chaotic event, much to the delight of store owners (probably even busting a few like George Costanza) and utter dismay of everyone else.

There are the severely organized bunch who, months before the next birthday, engagement or holiday have already scoured day and night through countless retail catalogues, highlighted and circled all possible options and once decisions are final, high-tail it down to their local westfield returning with all gifts purchased, wrapped and accounted for. Others prefer to shop online or leisurely pound the pavement at their own pace, resisting the need to be influenced or have their heels trodden on several times by pesky patrons.  Magazines often address such issues and conveniently step in around your selected holiday, presenting themselves as a savior to the lost, providing a carefully curated selection of disgraceful looking bejeweled coat hangers or potpourri in which they feel your grandma would fancy.  Side note; if you are sold on the hanger idea, then for goodness sakes forget rambunctious diamantes, what you need is a kitty coat hanger.  Who wouldn’t want a hanger with a large cat’s head looking like it is is sporting all your best ensembles.

Regardless of the unspoken rules (everyone has their own theory) or format that you follow for gift giving, like those tribal leaders, we are sure it was the actual notion of giving that meant more than the bark in which they actually received.  It’s nice to think that amongst all the hysteria of shopping that we can reflect on the actual giving of the present; a wonderful material expression of ones feelings for another.  Mind you, we are definitely not opposed to a bit of wood or bark here in our studio.  Often the coolest designs can evolve from unexpected materials and objects.  Check out some of ours over at If You Build It.

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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