The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Original marketing material for the apartment block

Isokon Gallery opens

The Isokon Building, chosen as one of our 100 Buildings 100 Years under its original name Lawn Road Flats, has just turned 80, and is now home to a new public gallery. The Isokon Gallery tells the story of Britain’s first modernist block of flats, created by Jack and Molly Pritchard and architect Wells Coates.

It became home to notable émigrés, including Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer, designer of modernist furniture, and Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, head teacher of art at the Bauhaus school. It also attracted artists, architects, Soviet spy Arnold Deutsch and writers including Agatha Christie, who lived there between 1941 and 1947, writing her only spy novel, N or M, there.

The new gallery tells the history of the building, its founders, architect and famous residents, and features Isokon furniture, produced by Jack Pritchard for the flats in collaboration with architect residents during the 1930s. These include classic pieces such as the ‘Penguin Donkey’ bookshelf by Egon Riss and Breuer’s ‘Long Chair’.

John Allan and Fiona Lamb of Avanti Architects, who restored the building with Notting Hill Housing, have established a Trust to run the Gallery, together with Magnus Englund, who is MD and co-founder of design retailer Skandium.


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