Categories ArtPosted on

The Isokon Gallery and Walter Gropius

SEEN has been a long-time admirer of the work of architect, teacher and Isokon resident, the renowned architect Walter Gropius. Marking the 80th anniversary of Walter Gropius’s departure from England to America, The Isokon Gallery Trust presents a concise synopsis of the seminal architect’s life and work.

TDG-isokon-gallery-hi-07

One of the most highly-regarded architects of the 20th Century, modernist and Isokon resident, Walter Gropius – along with his contemporaries Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright – is widely regarded as a founding father of modernist architecture.

Opening Day - Edith Tudor-Hart

Moving to England via Italy to escape Nazi Germany, his arrival in 1934 marked the end of a brilliant early career in Germany where he was the Founder and Director of the groundbreaking Bauhaus movement, beginning in 1919. Although a famed architect, his period in England was met with the struggle to find work, due to his radical modernist designs although he did produce several realised projects, most notably the Impington Village College in Cambridge, built in partnership with Maxwell Fry. Gropius’ and Fry’s consideration of the social impact of the building’s environment was groundbreaking for the time, and is noted as one of the most important pieces of architecture created in that era.

TDG-isokon-gallery-hi-01

After four years at the Isokon, an invitation to become Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design signalled the end of his residency in London in 1937, where he would later complete many significant projects including Gropius House, Met Life Building, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building and The Harvard Graduate Centre.

The Isokon Gallery tells the remarkable story of the Isokon building, a pioneering modern apartment block opened in 1934 as a progressive experiment in new ways of urban living. Commissioned by champions of modern design Jack and Molly Pritchard, and designed by architect Wells Coates, Isokon was home to Bauhaus émigrés, artists, authors (Agatha Christie), architects and even a number of Soviet spies.

The Isokon Company also pioneered bent plywood furniture with pieces designed by Marcel Breuer, Egon Riss and Ernest Race, including the famous Penguin Donkey 1. Today their originals form part of the exhibition and many of the designs are still produced today by Isokon Plus in Hackney, London – who also produce new pieces from notable contemporary designers including Barber & Osgerby and Michael Sodeau.

The display features a full-size kitchen and dressing room re-created using original material salvaged from the recent Isokon restoration project by Avant Architects whose work on the Isokon Building was met with great acclaim, winning the following Crown Estate Conservation Award 2005, RIBA Conservation Award 2005 and Concrete Society Mature Structures Award 2004.

Exclusively for the Isokon Gallery; Christopher Wilk, Keeper of the Furniture, Textiles & Fashion Department at the V&A will take guests through his new exhibition ‘Plywood: Material of the Modern World’ on Friday 14th July, 5.45pm – 8pm, one day before the exhibition opens to the public, with all proceeds going to the Isokon Gallery Trust.

The Isokon Gallery Trust, established in 2014, by John Allan and Fiona Lamb of Avanti Architects, who, with Notting Hill Housing restored the building in 2004, and Magnus Englund, resident of the Isokon Building (Lawn Road Flats) and co-founder of the design retailer Skandium.

A changing seasonal display is exhibited each year, alongside the permanent exhibition. A small gift shop offers a range of books and items with all proceeds going towards the charity’s costs. SEEN will certainly be visiting. The exhibition and the building will doubtless be a mecca for all modernist design enthusiasts.

www.isokongallery.co.uk

Open 11am–4pm every Saturday & Sunday
Until 29th October 2017

The Isokon Gallery
Lawn Road
Hampstead
London
NW3 2XD

Seen this week

Categories FashionPosted on

AVANTgarden: Be You, Be Proud

SEEN is intrigued to hear about AVANTgarden from FKA Twigs, a new digizine dedicated to self-care, beauty and the art of braids within the black community. Certainly on my voyaging around London, I’m struck, as an observer, by the beauty and complexity of the braids I see.

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Halloween at Sexy Fish

In London, you don’t go on a night out so much as partake of a new experience. Leave it to the gloriously named Sexy Fish in Mayfair to add a unique event to this year’s Halloween calendar.

Categories ArtPosted on

Ladies of the Press at Sluice Biennial

SEEN headed up to Hackney recently, there to peruse this year’s Sluice Biennial. A large and airy building at Morning Lane housed fascinating creative projects by artists and creators who have come together under the Sluice banner. What SEEN particularly liked was the variety of work on display and the informal atmosphere in which it …

Categories EntertainmentPosted on

The Castle at the Space: SEEN Reviews

SEEN was not that familiar with the work of Howard Barker prior to seeing ‘The Castle’ but feels she must rectify that situation. A powerful piece on the nature of masculinity, war, gender roles and the essential unreliability of religious faith, ‘The Castle’ benefits from a powerhouse cast and a stripped-back set, making the most of the Space’s environment.

Categories MusicPosted on

Original Swimming Party Release ‘Biggest Curse’

Electronic experimental duo Original Swimming Party, have announced the release of their new single  ‘Biggest Curse’ featuring vocalist Moonchild Sanelly. Taken from their forthcoming remix EP, the single is now available to stream from October 6th.

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Heist Bank Beer Festival

Beer connoisseurs would do well to get themselves along to the Heist Bank Beer Festival this weekend, the 14th and 15th October. The bar in Paddington will be celebrating the finest keg and cask beers known to humanity, from UK brewers, Fourpure, Beavertown, Thornbridge and Wild Beer Co., who will headline, launching special seasonal releases …