When December is around the corner, the nagging question „what should I put under the Christmas tree?” becomes everyone’s mantra. Luckily, Kraków is overflowing with fantasia and originality. All you need to do is take a step off the beaten shopping track. Poke around designer boutiques and pay a visit to artists’ studios to find the new and the unique. Let’s head to the city in search of (not only) holiday inspirations!
Have a great day
Surround yourself with beautiful objects every morning to make sure you stay in a good mood and keep your spirit high. Porcelain from KALVA – a small Kraków-based and family-owned manufacturing facility – astonishes with the simplicity of shape and delicate ornamentation. Animal and plant motives have become KALVA’s trademark. You can choose from a number of thematic sets or order breakfast cups, mugs and plates with a decoration of your choice. Shop online and remember about the possibility to collect your order at Kalwaryjska 21 in Kraków.
Andrzej Mędrek may be a quiet Kraków-based artist, but his work screams color and astounds with shape. On a potter’s wheel, Andrzej creates unique utilitarian porcelain and stoneware. His magnificent sense of form and choice of glaze endows each object with a distinct, inimitable character. Everything is one of a kind and meticulously crafted. You can schedule a meeting with the artist in his studio to choose anything you like. You can also place a customized order or present your close ones with a workshop in pottery making led by Andrzej himself.
There are only several factories worldwide engaged in the traditional manufacture of porcelain, including hand-made decoration. One of them is AS Ćmielów Porcelain Factory specializing in the hand-made production of luxury porcelain, thus continuing the legacy and pre-war practices of the Świt manufactory in Ćmielów. Their flagship store in Kraków is a real gallery of extraordinary utilitarian art with gifts for collectors and porcelain lovers. Each of the products has a dedicated certificate of authenticity with production details and the name of the author, as well as, in the case of figurines, a unique identification number.
Lovers of paper – easily recognizable individuals – usually flip through notebooks with a smile of nostalgia and don’t refrain from smelling their pages. The team behind „papierniczeni” – a small Kraków-based brand – knows it very well and takes it seriously. Paper products are not only about covers, but about format, type and quality of paper and binding techniques, opening mechanisms and, last but not least, the pleasures of touching and writing… The brand offers you well-made paper must-haves. Simply beautiful and practical. You can flip through them on site, in the studio, but you need to arrange a meeting beforehand. We are certainly paper in love!
Klaudyna Hebda, a Kraków-born blogger and ethno-pharmacologist studying the relationship between people and medicinal plants, makes fragrant and natural cosmetics from … plants exactly. You can read all about processes of production in her recent book (a great gift as well!) on home-made cosmetics - Ziołowy Zakątek. Kosmetyki, które zrobisz w domu. Treat yourself to some original bottles and boxes full of oils, herbal waters, peelings and creams offered in Klaudyna’s online store. The scents are perfect for our loooong and gray Polish winter!
Everything here is authentic, nice, and well-designed. Bibelots from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, renovated armchairs and chairs, glass, ceramics, Polish movie posters, lamps, clocks, and what-not! A place stuffed with gift ideas perfect for lovers of vintage vibe.
Nowa Huta, PRL Museum, os. Centrum E1, Tuesday-Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
ul. Józefa 9, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
A store where exceptional vintage gems from the past decades – lamps, vases, decorative items, glass, ceramics, graphic art – collected by two Kraków-born women stand out among the monotony offered by chain stores. Call in to make an appointment and head to the showroom to face the difficult task of choosing a gift among all the accumulated treasure.
We won’t exaggerate if we call this place a shrine of contemporary Polish design. Located in an iconic building of Cracovia Hotel, Forum Designu [Design Forum] is – unarguably – a mine of wonderful gifts. Choose between furniture, garden and children’s accessories, clothes and textiles. Occasionally, the place hosts fair and other creative events.
An off and online store with products designed and made in Poland. What isn’t here, we ask?! Furniture, lamps, ceramics, posters, notebooks, selected collections of bags and jewelry, children’s toys as well as books and periodicals. A perfect destination for anyone looking for a gift for those in love of contemporary design, functional and original solutions, natural materials and small-scale production.
ul. Nadwiślańska 11
Mon. – Fri., 11 a.m. -7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A socio-artistic project developed by Alicja Wsocka/Alfa Omegi and women living in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenia. A part of the project is a Kraków-based store selling unique shoes, bags, backpacks and objects created from natural, oftentimes recycled, materials by Kenyan women. Each product is one of its kind, beautiful in its simplicity and astonishing with its African mixing of color. All income from sale supports women who create the goods as well as children’s education. How truly amazing must that feel to make your loved one happy while making a good deed at the same time?
ul. Józefińska 9
As a result of a wonderful coincidence, the Kazimierz district boasts three top stores with vinyl records arranged in nothing other than the „vinyl triangle”. Three owners with distinct personalities and three different approaches to black discs do share one thing: authentic love for what they do. You can come and listen to every record and have a chat about styles, artists and music. Prepare yourself for a few-hour stay, that’s for sure, but you certainly won’t leave without a stunning gift.
text: Kasia Pilitowska
photos: courtesy of boutiqes' owners