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1930s, Books, Modernist

Coming soon: Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain

Coming soon: Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain
Coming soon: Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain

Sadly it doesn’t quite make it for Christmas, but Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain is well-timed for the Bauhaus 100th anniversary.

Published by Batsford and the work of Leyla Daybelge and Magnus Englund, this is the story of what was the most exciting new apartment block in Britain and still one of the most iconic.

The Lawn Road Flats (aka the Isokon building) was commissioned by the ‘young visionary couple’ Jack and Molly Pritchard and designed by Wells Coates. Yes, the Wells Coates behind that Sunspan house that’s up for auction soon.

Built in 1934, it was England’s first modernist apartment building and was hugely influential in pioneering the concept of minimal living. During the mid-1930s and 1940s its flats, bar and dining club became a ‘creative nexus’ for international artists, writers and thinkers.

Jack Pritchard employed Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszlo 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 time in pre-war England helped shape Modern Britain.

This new publication tells the story of the Isokon, looking at the work, artistic networks and legacy of the Bauhaus artists during their time in Britain. According to the pre-publicity, it doesn’t just cover the design and architecture but also war, sex, death, espionage and the infamous dinner parties. Which makes it sound a lot racier than you might expect.

Of course, there is archive photography, with much of which is previously unseen, including 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.

A hardback book, it covers 240 pages and will be on the shelves on 18th February 2019. You can pre-order now, with the book priced at £25.

Find out more at the Amazon website

Note that I have featured apartments in the Isokon in the past. You can check those out here.