The design enthusiasts Marissa Gluck, Alissa Walker, Haily Zaki and Erin Cullerton together run de LaB, aka Design East of La Brea—a part-party, part-culture club that introduces Angelenos to LA contemporary design. Last week Frances caught up with them at their last event of 2011, a tour of LACMA's California Design: Living in a Modern Way 1930-1965 exhibition. Since their events have taken them all over the city for sneak peeks of products made by the region's designers, the four ladies each gave their picks for the best made-in-LA designs of the year. If you're still looking for presents this year, their selections would each make a perfect locally produced design-centric gift.
The Dustbin by Brendan Ravenhill: This ingenious trash can not only keeps a dustpan and brush at-the-ready, all of its parts were manufactured in Los Angeles by companies ranging from a 60-year-old metal stamper to a brush maker who produces parts for the Mars Rovers. $220 at BrendanRavenhill.com
California Design: Living in a Modern Way 1930-1965 designed by Michael Hodgson and Ph.D: The gorgeous catalogue for the definitive exhibition on California design includes hundreds of objects produced in the state during the midcentury modern movement. $60 at the LACMA Shop
Rodarte by Laura and Kate Mulleavy, Catherine Opie and Alec Soth: This art-fashion photo book is a collaboration between the Mulleavy sisters, renowned Pasadena fashion designers, and photographers Opie and Soth. It features the Rodarte clothes against the California landscapes which inspired them. $80 at Hennessey + Ingalls
toHOLD designed by Kara Bartelt: Part modern art, part terrarium, Bartelt's delicate pieces use succulents and airplants to create beautiful living sculptures that look right at home on a desk, a coffee table, even as a unique necklace. Starting at $8.50 at Etsy and other LA locations
Design your own present at KnowHow Shop LA: Visit this Highland Park workshop with your own gift ideas and their skilled proprietors will help you navigate their fabrication wonderland filled with laser etchers and CNC milling machines to bring your creation to life. Contact for prices
Geoff McFetridge's collection at Heath Ceramics: The Los Angeles designer and illustrator dabbles in clay for the first time with a limited-editon line of custom-painted dinnerware and accessories covered in McFetridge's signature doodles. Various prices at Heath Ceramics, 7525 Beverly Boulevard
Top image: Kara Bartelt's toHOLD piece features an airplant inside a pink sea urchin