Though its building by Frank Gehry must be a mixed blessing, the Vitra Design Museum exerts an inuence far beyond its Weil am Rhein site with its substantial travelling exhibitions - the Design Museum, the Lighthouse, and Manchester's Cube have all staged them in the past. Given Vitra's remit, they tend to feature objects more than architecture, but in the absence of equally ambitious home-grown initiatives, we shouldn't complain. Next year Liverpool hosts Vitra's big Le Corbusier show; meanwhile Vitra is the source of two exhibitions in Scotland's Six Cities Design Festival, which is now under way.
At the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, there's Living in Motion: Design and Architecture for Flexible Dwelling, which began touring back in 2002, and places today's emphasis on mobile lifestyles in a broad cultural and temporal context - so Mongolian yurts get a look-in, as well as Breuer, Prouvé and the Eames. Just open at Glasgow's the Tramway is Airworld, focusing on the design and architecture of air travel since the early days of ight. Other non-Vitra shows in the festival, all coming up in the next few weeks, are at Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee, with New, Old, Green at Castle Wynd, Inverness, developed with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, sounding the most promising ( www. six-cities. com).
This spring's major show at the V&A, Surreal Things, is stronger on frocks than paintings, charting stylishly the way that the supposedly transgressive aims of Surrealism were swiftly neutered by the worlds of fashion, advertising and interior design. Le Corbusier's De Beistigui apartment, Kit Nicholson's designs for Edward James' Monkton, Kiesler's Art of This Century gallery and a playground and swimming pool by Isamu Noguchi, add some architectural interest.
But anyone visiting the V&A for this should also call in to the adjacent gallery of photography to see Eugene Atget: Unintentional Surrealist? - a small show of Atget's images of early 20th-century Paris, drawn from the museum's holdings (pictured above). One can readily imagine a selection that makes a better case for Atget as a proto-Surrealist, but whether of alleyways, gardens, staircases or shopfronts, his photographs always cast a spell ( www. vam. ac. uk).
For forthcoming events visit www. ajplus. co. uk/diary