The story behind this product
Jack Pritchard, founder of the Isokon furniture company, knew Allen Lane, creator of Penguin Books and decided to create a piece to hold the publishing house’s paperback books. Designer Egon Riss was an Austrian-Jewish émigré who fled to England and lived in the landmark Isokon building. The plywood for the original MK1 design came from Estonia and, when the country was invaded during the second World War, work on it ceased and it never made it into production. It was revived in the 1960s with a second, different iteration before the MK1 was produced again in the 1980s.