London’s Design Museum Reveals ‘Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things’

London’s Design Museum, which opened in 1981 in a former basement boilerroom of the Victoria & Albert Museum, is gearing up to move out of its current home–once a banana warehouse–into a $125 million new building, the former Commonwealth Institute, spruced up by OMA and with interiors by John Pawson. Until the big move, slated for 2015, the museum is pulling out the stops, or at least the stories, for an exhibition of memorable objects from its permanent collection.

“Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things,” which opened today, focuses on stories such as national identity (road signage, the Euro), the dominance of plastic in our lives (from 1960s furniture to recent Issey Miyake garments made from upcycled plastic bottles), and Modernism, in which visitors can marvel at the work of designers such as Marcel Breuer and…Erno Goldfinger (Ian Fleming borrowed his name for a Bond villain because of a personal vendetta, according to the museum). Among the objects singled out for special treatment are the Anglepoise lamp and Jasper Morrison‘s Handlebar Table, which is among the latest additions to the museum’s 3,000-object-collection. Another recent acquisition? An AK-47, soon to be followed by a Russian cosmonaut spacesuit. Until you can make it to London (the show will be on view until 2015), visit vicariously via the Design Museum Collection App, free on iTunes.