Calling itself "the world's greatest museum of art and design," the Victoria & Albert Museum houses 3,000 years' worth of furniture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles and more.
Until July 22, "Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design" examines the impact of the Surrealist movement on design.
Some 300 surreal objects are on display in a theatrical setting, including Salvador Dali's pink satin lips sofa from 1938 that was created as an homage to Mae West's mouth and Oscar Dominguez's red upholstered 1937 wheelbarrow that seems strikingly modern in its juxtaposition of function and materials.
A Surrealist gift shop looks like somebody's tricked out living room, with a wall of clever storage disguised as framed art -- containing television screens, bookshelves or a chalkboard -- that chasten the viewer about the importance of whimsy and the folly of taking design too seriously. "I try to create fantastic things, magical things, things like in a dream," Dali once said. "The world needs more fantasy."
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristin @ apartmenttherapy . com