Isokon Building, Hampstead. Wells Coates, completed 1934. Source: Justinc, cc-by-sa-2.0.

study visits

Modernist Architecture and Furniture

  • Tuesday 12 September 2023
  • Isokon Gallery, Lawn Road, London NW3 2XD (5 min. walk from Belsize Park Station)
  • Guide: Magnus Englund

Designed by Wells Coates, The Isokon was the first modernist block of flats in Britain and pioneered the idea of minimalist, stylish city living.

Isokon furniture pioneered the use of bent plywood. Celebrated pieces include the Long Chair by Marcel Breuer and the unique Penguin Donkey by Egon Riss. Jack Pritchard created the Isokon Furniture Company in the early 1930s and enlisted Coates, Gropius, Breuer, Egon Riss and later Ernest Race as designers. Isokon furniture pioneered the use bent plywood, with notable designs including Breuer’s Long Chair and Riss’s Penguin Donkey.

A home for an extraordinary range of creatives and intellectuals.Isokon residents from this period included: Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus; Marcel Breuer, designer of modernist furniture; and László Moholy-Nagy, head teacher of art at the Bauhaus school. The three Bauhaus masters are now honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque.

(Notes from the Isokon Gallery information.)


 Magnus Englund , Director of the Gallery, is the current resident of Jack and Molly Pritchard’s penthouse in the Isokon building. He 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.

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