Ask the Expert: Gift-Buying Tips from Design Curator Ronald T. Labaco

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By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
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MAD Museum curator Ronald Labaco shares the products he can't live without.

What’s your go-to host gift?

What’s your go-to host gift?

Even before working at MAD, I used to go to the store there specifically for Ed Wohl’s Bird’s-Eye maple cutting boards, so there’s no sense in breaking tradition. Plus, it’s ultraconvenient as a last-minute thought.

Bird’s-Eye maple cutting boards by Edward Wohl, from $102.

Even before working at MAD, I used to go to the store there specifically for Ed Wohl’s Bird’s-Eye maple cutting boards, so there’s no sense in breaking tradition. Plus, it’s ultraconvenient as a last-minute thought. Bird’s-Eye maple cutting boards by Edward Wohl, from $102.

Bird’s-Eye maple cutting boards by Edward Wohl, from $102.

What is your everyday bedding?

What is the best design book to give as a gift?

I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonnè, 1958–2012, since I’m working on a 2015 exhibition on his new digitally assisted work.

Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonnè, 1958–2012, by Emily Evans Eerdmans (The Artist Book Foundation, 2014), $150.

Matteo. Made and designed in Los Angeles, it reminds me of my Southern California roots.

What is your go-to kitchen appliance?

I don’t cook much, so does my OXO Muddler qualify as an appliance? There’s nothing like a refreshing mojito on a hot summer day.

Steel muddler from Oxo, $14.

What’s your favorite kind of towel?

What is your most indispensable everyday gadget?

I live in dread of losing my Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones.

QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-cancelling headphones by Bose, $300.

Organic cotton towels and hemp linen washcloths from Rawganique.com. Organic cotton towels, from $39, and hemp linen washcloths, $6. 

Labaco joined the Museum of Arts and Design as Marcia Docter curator in 2010. Prior to that, he was Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum in Atlanta.

What is your go-to kitchen appliance?

I don’t cook much, so does my OXO Muddler qualify as an appliance? There’s nothing like a refreshing mojito on a hot summer day. Steel muddler from Oxo, $14.

What is the best design book to give as a gift?

I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonnè, 1958–2012, since I’m working on a 2015 exhibition on his new digitally assisted work. Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonnè, 1958–2012, by Emily Evans Eerdmans (The Artist Book Foundation, 2014), $150.

What is your most indispensable everyday gadget?

I live in dread of losing my Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones. QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-cancelling headphones by Bose, $300.