Visionary designers honoured with blue plaque

Three legendary designers who lived in our landmark Isokon building in Camden have been honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque.

German Walter Gropius, as well as Marcel Breuer and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy from Hungary, were visionary designers and teachers from the influential Bauhaus art school in Germany . They all lived and worked at the iconic venue during the 1930s.

All three play an important part in the remarkable story of the Isokon, which is also home to a gallery which has attracted 15,000 visitors from around the world since it opened in 2014.

The grade I listed Isokon Building in Belsize Park, originally known as Lawn Road Flats, was completed in 1934 to provide low-cost accommodation to the increasingly mobile and single professional. It was the first in Britain to be built in the fully modern design.

Two years later, its communal kitchen was converted into the Isobar restaurant and became a creative hub for residents such as Agatha Christie, Naum Slutzky and for artists like Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth who lived nearby.

Over the decades it fell into serious decline until it was purchased in 2002. Working with English Heritage, the Isokon Trust and Avanti Architects, we restored the building to 35 homes, many for key workers, as well as an impressive penthouse.

Kate Davies, chief executive of Notting Hill Genesis, said: “We look after more than 64,000 homes but these flats are special. The Isokon is the jewel in our crown when it comes to innovative and exciting design. On my desk I have a model of these flats and every time I look at it, I am proud to be associated with it.

“We are incredibly proud to have played a part in restoring this building to its former beauty and to now see no fewer than three former residents honoured with this blue plaque. The Isokon was founded on the principle of providing affordable housing to Londoners, a purpose that remains at the heart of our work today.”

Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, added: “To be able to recognise three prominent individuals of the Bauhaus together on the same building where they lived and worked is an excellent opportunity to honour their significant contribution to the fields of art, architecture and design.

“It is highly appropriate that their joint blue plaque will appear on the Isokon Building, itself an example of radical modern design.”

Other speakers included John Allan, chairman of The Isokon Gallery Trust, Charlotte Schwarzer, head of culture and education at the German embassy and Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, ambassador of Hungary.