Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain – an illustrated talk by Magnus Englund and Leyla Daybelge - Thursday 4th July, 6.30pm
The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Please join us on 4th July to hear authors Leyla Daybelge and Magnus Englund talk about their new book Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain. This illustrated talk will cover the story of the Isokon, and the artistic network and legacy of the Bauhaus artists during their time in Britain. Books will be available to buy.
Built in 1934, in response to the question ‘How do we want to live now?’ the Isokon on Lawn Road in Hampstead was England’s first modernist apartment building, and was hugely influential in pioneering the concept of minimal living. Its flats, bar and dining club would become an extraordinary creative nexus for international artists, writers and thinkers, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy.
More about the book:
In the mid-1930s, three giants of the international Modern movement, Bauhaus professors Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy, fled Nazi Germany and sought refuge in Hampstead in the most exciting new apartment block in Britain. The Lawn Road Flats, or Isokon Building (as it came to be known), was commissioned by the young visionary couple Jack and Molly Pritchard and designed by aspiring architect Wells Coates.
During the mid-1930s and 1940s its flats, bar and dining club became an extraordinary creative nexus for international artists, writers and thinkers. Jack Pritchard employed Gropius, Breuer and Moholy-Nagy in his newly formed Isokon design company and the furniture, architecture and graphic art the three produced for him and other clients during their brief sojourn in pre-war England helped shape Modern Britain.
This book tells the story of the Isokon, from its beginnings to the present day, and fully examines the work, artistic networks and legacy of the Bauhaus artists during their time in Britain. The tales are not just of design and architecture but war, sex, death, espionage and the infamous dinner parties. Isokon resident Agatha Christie features in the book as does Charlotte Perriand of architect firm Le Corbusier, who Jack Pritchard commissioned for a pavilion design in 1930.
The book is beautifully illustrated with archive photography – much of which is previously unseen – and includes the work of photographer and Soviet spy Edith Tudor-Hart, as well as plans and sketches, menus, postcards and letters from the Pritchard family archive.
In Spring 2018, the Isokon building and Breuer, Gropius and Moholy-Nagy were honoured with a Blue Plaque from English Heritage. 2019 marks the centenary of the foundation of the Bauhaus, so the book is a timely celebration of European design.
This compelling tale shows how Modern Britain was shaped by these groundbreaking designers.
Leyla Daybelge is a Journalist and Broadcaster, with a background in news and current affairs, as a newscaster, correspondent and producer for BBC Radio Four, ITN, ITV News and Sky News. She currently writes travel and culture features for the Daily Telegraph amongst others. She was previously Head of Press for Contemporary and Design at Sotheby’s.
Magnus Englund has championed the building’s revival and is a trustee of the Isokon Gallery. He is the co-founder of the popular interior design company, Skandium.
Members’ price: £8.00 (to include a glass of wine) Non members: £12.00 (to include a glass of wine)