Exhibition Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today

10 Unmissable Highlights from #ObjectsOfDesire

From world-renowned artworks from Surrealist pioneers such as Salvador Dalí and Leonora Carrington  through to contemporary artists and designs, such as Schiaparelli, Dior, Björk. Explore the 10 unmissable highlights from our exhibition.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Cadeau by Man Ray

An iron with nails glued to its face, this object, spontaneously created by Man Ray on the way to one of the first Surrealist exhibitions in 1921, transforms a functional household object into something more disturbing.

1963 replica of lost 1921 original Man Ray.

Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dalí

A fully functioning telephone created from an unexpected combination of objects, this object is key in showing Surrealism’s transition from art to design. Dalí saw both lobsters and telephones as erotic objects, and his first designs for this object were titled the ‘Aphrodisiac Telephone.’

1938. Salvador Dalí, Edward James.

Destino by Salvador Dalí and John Hench for Walt Disney

A collaboration between Dalí and Walt Disney, Destino is a surrealist short film telling the love story of Chronos, the personification of time, and a mortal woman. As they seek each other out across surreal landscapes, look out for Dali’s recurring motifs – from melting clocks to the eye.

2003. Original designs by Salvador Dalí and John Hench for Walt Disney Studios.

Porte-Bouteilles by Duchamp

A readymade bottle rack transformed into an iconic sculpture, this work emphasises the importance of concept over craft – a key innovation connected with the Surrealist movement.

1964 replica of lost 1914 original Marcel Duchamp.

Look 6 Haute Couture by Schiaparelli

Before Barbiecore there was Schiaparelli shocking pink. Daring and eccentric, this design of Maison Schiaparelli is modelled on the 1930 wooden mannequins Elsa Schiaparelli displayed in her Paris shop window.

Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2021. Schiaparelli by Daniel Roseberry.

Fur bracelet by Méret Oppenheim

Oppenheim is believed to have worn her fur bracelet, designed for Elsa Schiaparelli, to meet artists Picasso and Dora Maar at a Parisian café. They supposedly remarked that anything might be covered in fur, leading Oppenheim to create her famously uncanny fur-covered cup and saucer – one of the ultimate Surrealist objects.

2014 edition of 1935 original Meret Oppenheim.

Stranger Than Paradise, photographs by Tim Walker

Taken at Las Pozas, the Mexican estate of Surrealist patron Edward James; and with references to Surrealist artworks and accessories, these two fashion photos featuring actress Tilda Swinton are both mysterious and striking.

2013 Tim Walker.

Hay by Najla El Zein

One of the show’s contemporary works, this is a piece of porcelain with hay inserted into it. Resembling a hairbrush whilst also giving the impression of hay growing organically out of stone, El Zein draws attention to the magic and sensuality of everyday materials.


Sketch Chair by Front Studio

This chair was designed by sketching mid-air with hand gestures, using motion capture technology. Spontaneous and unpredictable, this use of gestures recalls Picasso’s early experiments in ‘drawing’ with light.

AP 2, 2013. Front.

Kosmos in Blue collection by Yasmina Atta

Drawing inspiration from mythological figures, pop culture, technological futures, Afrosurrealist film and the designer’s Nigerian heritage, this collection finds harmony in unexpected juxtapositions.

2020 Yasmina Atta.

Discover the exhibition

Book now: Opens 14 October 2022

Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today

Discover the dreamlike relationship between Surrealism and design – a Vitra Design Museum Exhibition.

Photography credits: Andy Stagg