Powerful statement

Electricity Showroom, Regent Street, London, 1938

Electricity Showroom, Regent Street, London, 1938, with photo-murals by László Moholy-Nagy
Electricity Showroom, Regent Street, London, 1938, with photo-murals by László Moholy-Nagy Credit: RIBA Collections

Not many know of the contribution given to British architecture by the great Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy during his two-year stay in the country in the mid-1930s.

Following his friend Walter Gropius to London in 1935, he first found work as a graphic designer but soon started collaborating with some of the most prominent architects of the time, especially other fellow émigrés and members of the MARS group. 

After a couple of opportunities to work with Ernö Goldfinger  failed to materialise, Moholy designed an exhibition stand with Marcel Breuer, created photo-murals for the Electricity Showrooms designed by Fry & Gropius, and, most importantly, left his mark on the planning of the greatly influential MARS exhibition of 1938. The Architectural Review commissioned him to design and illustrate a special feature on ‘The English at the Seaside’, and Leslie Martin invited him to lecture at his newly founded school of architecture in Hull. Following Gropius again, Moholy left Britain for the United States exactly 80 years ago, in 1937: ‘England’s loss is America’s gain’, commented the AR on his departure.