Berthold Lubetkin (1901 – 1990) Russian-British Modernist Designer

Berthold Lubetkin (1901 – 1990) was a Russian-British modernist designer. He was a Russian emigre who came to London via the October Revolution of 1917. He was described as “feisty, mercurial, charming and a great storyteller, he soon made his mark with the English intellectual elite.”

Education

He studied architecture in Moscow and Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Atelier Perret, Paris.

Biography

He supervised the construction of the Soviet pavilion by Konstantin Mel โ€™inkov at the 1925 Paris โ€˜Exposition Internationale des Arts Dรฉcoratifs et Industriels Modernes.โ€™

Between 1927โ€”30, he collaborated with Jean Ginsburg in Paris.

In 1930, he settled in London. In 1932, Lubetkin, Anthony Chitty, Lindsey Drake, Michael Dugdale, Valentine Harding, Godfrey Samuel, and R.T.F. Skinner formed the Tecton architectural partnership.

In 1934, Harding and Samuel departed, forming a partnership together; subsequently, Chitty and Dugdale left. After Tecton was dissolved, the partnership of Skinner, Bailey and Lubetkin was formed.

Tecton Years

At Tecton, Lubetkin was best known for his 1933โ€”34 penguin pool at the Regentโ€™s Park Zoo, London, a celebrated example of 1930s Functionalist architecture in England. Tectonโ€™s other work included,

  • Regentโ€™s Park, the 1932 Gorilla House,
  • 1935โ€”37 Studio of Animal Art, and
  • 1936โ€”37 New Elephant House; at
  • Whipsnade Zoo, the 1934โ€”36 Giraffe House and Shelter and 1934โ€”37 New Elephant House and Shelter; Dudley Zoo;
  • 1938โ€” 39 Finsbury Health Centre, London;
  • 1933โ€”35 Highpoint I and 1936โ€”38 Highpoint II in Highgate, London;
  • houses at Bognor Regis, Dulwich, Farnham, Gidea Park, and Haywards Heath;
  • 1934โ€”36 bungalows at Whipsnade; various projects including first-prize-winning design for the 1935 โ€˜Competition for working- class flats in reinforced concrete.โ€™
  • Lubetkin also worked on the planning of Peterlee New Town.
  • He received the 1982 RIBA gold medal.

Views on Modern Movement 1920s and 1930s

Concerning his views on the modern movement (the 1920s and 1930s), he said it was “Glorifying reason in human affairs, getting rid of prejudice and facing reality as it is.” About his Highpoint towers and building them high. He explained that “Highpoint had to accommodate a certain amount of people on a restricted site and that in itself dictated the height of it. ” There was the emotional impact of a white thing, standing on top of the cliffs and waiting for the winds of change to come.” It was a romantic vision; utility and imagination were to go hand in hand.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Glancey, J., & Glancey, J. (2013). Modern Architecture. Goodman.

Nuttgens, P. (1989). The Home Front: Housing The People 1840-1990. BBC Books.

More on British Designers

  • John Makepeace (b.1939) British Furniture Designer

    John Makepeace (b.1939) British Furniture Designer

    He started designing furniture in 1961. In 1964, he set up a workshop in Farnsborough Barn, Banbury, moving in 1976 to Parnham House in Dorset. He established the Parnham Trust and School for Craftsmen in Wood in 1977.Read More →

  • Jacqueline Groag (1903 – 1986) Czech textile designer

    Jacqueline Groag (1903 – 1986) Czech textile designer

    Jacqueline Groag (1903 – 1986) was a Czech textile designer and ceramicist. Born in Prague she studied in Vienna at the Kunstgewerbeschule during the 1920s. In 1937 she moved to Paris where she designed dress prints for Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiparelli and others.Read More →

  • Zandra Rhodes (b.1940) British fashion and textile designer

    Zandra Rhodes (b.1940) British fashion and textile designer

    Zandra Rhodes studied lithography and printing at Medway College before going on to the Royal College of Art to study textiles, graduating in 1964 during the height of the pop movement. She made a paper wedding dress that cost less than two shillings, motivated by this trend and the work of painter Roy Lichtenstein in particular (about 7 new pence). In 1967, paper clothing was all the rage: it was the ultimate representation of disposable apparel.Read More →

  • Lucie Rie (1902 – 1995) British Ceramicist

    Lucie Rie (1902 – 1995) British Ceramicist

    Lucie Rie (1902 โ€“ 1995) was an Austrian-born British ceramicist. Between 1922-26, she studied fine art, at Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna, under Michael Powolny. Her most famous works are vases, bottles, and bowls inspired by Japan. Lucie Rie Footed Bowl c. 1951, owned by publisher Susan Shaw. Gold medal for work in the Austrian pavilion at the 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques clans la Vie Moderne’ Exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.Read More →

  • Susie Cooper (1902 – 1995) British ceramicist and designer

    Susie Cooper (1902 – 1995) British ceramicist and designer

    Breakfast in an American middle-class home in the 1940s was often served on dishes designed by English designer Susie Cooper (1902-1995).Read More →

  • David Mellor (1930 – 2009) British metalworker and manufacturer

    David Mellor (1930 – 2009) British metalworker and manufacturer

    Mellor specialised in metalwork, especially cutlery, and was regarded as one of Britain’s most well-known designers. He also built bus shelters and the traffic light system that is currently in operation throughout the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies, and British Overseas Territories.Read More →

  • Royal Designer for Industry – high quality industrial design

    Royal Designer for Industry – high quality industrial design

    The British Royal Society of Arts (RSA) established the Royal Designer for Industry designation in 1936 to encourage high-quality industrial design and elevate the reputation of designers. It is given to persons who have demonstrated “consistent excellence in beautiful and efficient industrial design.”Read More →

  • William Blenko (1854 – 1926) and Blenko Glassware

    William Blenko (1854 – 1926) and Blenko Glassware

    Blenko established the first American factory to produce sheet glass for stained glass windows. Blenko’s early successes include providing glass for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The White House has a collection of Blenko table ware, used periodically. Wayne Husted pioneered the concept of “architectural scale” designs. Blenko’s “Historic Period” begins with Anderson in 1946 and includes work of Nickerson up to 1974.Read More →

  • Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) British wood engraver & ceramicist

    Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) British wood engraver & ceramicist

    Eric William Ravilious was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landscapes. He served as a war artist, and was the first British war artist to die on active service in World War II. Ravilious studied with Edward Bawden and Charles Mahoney at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London in 1928. He painted a series of marionette-like murals for Morley College, which were destroyed by bombing in 1941.Read More →

  • Laura Ashley (1926 – 1988) British fabric and fashion designer

    Laura Ashley (1926 – 1988) British fabric and fashion designer

    Laura Ashley was one of the first British designers to experiment with the concept of lifestyle marketing. Her romantic vision of nineteenth-century rural life, adapted to modern domestic realities, inspired a generation of middle-class Britons who returned to country life in the 1960s and 1970s.Read More →

  • Narrative Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    Narrative Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    Many architects have used the word “narrative” to describe their work since the early 1980s. The enduring appeal of narrative to architects is that it provides a means of interacting with how a city feels and functions. Read More →

  • Minnie Macleish (1876 – 1957 ) British textile designer

    Minnie Macleish (1876 – 1957 ) British textile designer

    She collaborated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Constance Irving at London’s Foxton textiles and Amsterdam’s Metz store. Macleish was a prolific designer during the 1920s and 1930s, creating patterns for Morton Sundour fabrics.Read More →

  • Nigel Coates (b.1949) English architect and designer

    Nigel Coates (b.1949) English architect and designer

    He co-founded Branson Coates Architecture with Doug Branson in 1985 before opening his architecture and design studio in 2006. He was a partner in the Branson Coates architecture and design studio and the founder of the radical NATO (Narrative Architecture Today, established in London in 1983) design group (established in 1985).Read More →

  • Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) British designer, artist and writer

    Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) British designer, artist and writer

    Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) was a British designer, artist and writer. He designed textiles, stained glass, wallpaper, and ceramics as a strong proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His books were available in both original and pirated copies in the U.S. Crane designed stained glass, tiles, wallpapers, embroideries, textiles, mosaics and decorative plasterwork.Read More →

  • Dame Mary Quant (b.1934) British Fashion Designer

    Dame Mary Quant (b.1934) British Fashion Designer

    Mary Quant, a pivotal figure in British fashion design, studied art and design at Goldsmiths College of Art from 1952 to 1955 while also taking evening classes in clothing construction and cutting. In 1955, in Knightsbridge, London, she established her first shop Bazaar on King’s Road, followed by the second shop Terence Conran designed in Knightsbridge.Read More →

  • Concorde a design classic

    Concorde a design classic

    Concorde was developed jointly by British Airways and Air France. Concorde was the first and remained the only supersonic civilian aircraft to be put into commercial service. Read More →

  • Jasper Morrison (b.1959) British Designer quirky, understated furniture

    Jasper Morrison (b.1959) British Designer quirky, understated furniture

    Morrison produced quirky, satiric, understated furniture. His 1986 South Kensington flat was widely published in design magazines. He designed 1988ย Door handles I and II, and a 1989 range of aluminium handles produced by FSB in Germany.ย Read More →

  • George Sowden – British/Italian Designer

    George Sowden – British/Italian Designer

    George James Sowden is a British designer. He was born in Leeds and active Italy. Between 1960-64 and 1966-68, he studied architecture, Gloucester College of Arts. Read More →

  • Christian Barman (1898โ€“1980) British industrial designer

    Christian Barman (1898โ€“1980) British industrial designer

    Christian Barman was a key first-generation British industrial designer during the interwar years. He is best known for his 1936 electric iron for HMV, which he started designing in 1933. He studied architecture at Liverpool University and ran his practice until Frank Pick invited him to join London Transport as a Publicity Officer in 1935.Read More →

  • The HMV Electric Convector Heater by Christian Barman

    The HMV Electric Convector Heater by Christian Barman

    Christian Barman’s 1934 HMV Electric Convector Heater is a classic example of Streamline Modern design. The heater’s stepped parabolic curves are both functional and beautiful. Even though it isn’t streamlined in the strictest sense, it still has the look of modern design.Read More →

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.