The extraordinary story of Isokon, a groundbreaking Modernist building in London, and how its network of residents helped shape modern Britain.
The Isokon building in London’s Hampstead pioneered minimal living and became the creative nexus for artists, writers and thinkers in the mid-1930s and 1940s. After having her home bombed in the first weeks of The Blitz in 1940, Agatha Christie moved into the Isokon where she joined an expanding list of famous residents, past and present. In addition to Christie, Bauhaus professors Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy, the first celebrity chef Philip Harben and local artists Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth all played an important role in the history of the Isokon.
Leyla Daybelge and Magnus Englund, authors of Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain (Batsford), bring the Isokon story to life in this illustrated talk. We get an insight into the inspiration and vision behind the building, commissioned by Jack and Molly Pritchard and designed by Wells Coates, and heavily inspired by the Bauhaus, which celebrates its centenary this year. However, this is not only a history of the building’s design, but also a fascinating story of war, sex, death, espionage and infamous dinner parties.
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 is a former 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.