Design trends: surrealism

Surrealist style has returned to the runways recently and now the trend is making its way into our homes with fantasy-inspired furniture and decor
Salvador Dali and his contemporaries would delight in the latest demand for all things weird and wonderful. Surrealist style has made a big return to the fashion world, with Diane von Furstenberg, Lanvin and Moschino using lip and eye motifs to add a dreamlike quality to their recent collections. And thanks to fantasy-inspired furniture and decor, it is easy to add a surreal touch at home.

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1. Jeeves hat lamps
Jake Phipps’s witty table and pendant lamps, made from authentic bowler and top hats, evoke surrealist artist René Magritte’s iconic 1964 painting, The Son of Man. Phipps, a graduate from John Makepeace’s furniture design school, set up his London design studio in 2005 and is now stocked in major department stores as well as quirky boutiques (£155-£195; jakephipps.com and heals.co.uk).
2. Fornasetti chairs
Italian painter, sculptor and interior decorator Piero Fornasetti created more than 11,000 items with the face of opera singer Lina Cavalieri as a recurring motif. His son, Barnaba, has ensured Fornasetti remains a leading name in modern design. Splash out on his balaclava chair (£3,559; farfetch.com) or bag his Profili su Russo tray with stand (£625; selfridges.com).
3. Fabio’s face armchair
Italian architect and designer Fabio Novembre is a master of fantasy furniture. The flamboyant figure loves to instil a sense of drama in his abstract creations and the Nemo armchair is as spooky as it is stylish. Like a mask, it simultaneously conceals and reveals its inhabitant and would make a scarily surreal addition to an indoor or outdoor space (£2,417; madeindesign.co.uk).
4. Dwell clocks
Dali was inspired by a collapsing Camembert cheese to create his famous melting clock. Dwell has a modern version (£14.95) that makes a budget-friendly way of giving your home a speedy surreal edge. Or why not choose a more contemporary take on the surrealist timepiece with this TV test card version (£45; dwell.co.uk).
5. Nicholette Yardley-Moore cushions
New designer on the block Nichollette Yardley-Moore has based her surrealist cushions on Picasso’s paintings. The artist’s muse and love, Dora Maar, is featured on the reversible duck-filled pieces which are made from silk scarves or flags and adorned with vintage buttons, ribbon seams and zip pulls (from £69; vintagecushions.com).
6. Studio 65 Heller Kiss sofa
The deliciously tongue-in-cheek Kiss one-seater sofa is part of the Studio 65 series by contemporary furniture company Heller. It surely takes inspiration from Salvador Dali’s Mae West Lips Sofa, shaped after the mouth of the Hollywood actress. Made from lightly textured lipstick-red resin plastic, it is pretty practical. But most importantly, it is an item that will add a spectacularly surreal twist to a room (£439; artdecodesignshop.co.uk).
7. Dust cabinets
Surrealism pioneered the juxtaposition and distortion of reality, encouraging us to expect the unexpected. And it is not every day we see cabinets bent, twisted and stacked on top of each other. Vincent T Leman’s pieces for Dust Furniture are wonderfully wacky. His cabinets play with shape, form and colour to create eye-catching designs (approximately £2,781; dustfurniture.com).

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