Eye On Design: Penguin Donkey Bookcase By Egon Riss

penguin donkey bookcase with breuer chaise photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Founded in 1929, Isokon became one of the most progressive modern furnishings companies in the United Kingdom. Several former members of the Bauhaus were tapped as designers, including Marcel Breuer, whose chase lounge is on view above, and Egon Riss, who designed several zoomorphic pieces for the company, including this molded-ply bookcase (1939) that resembles a Donkey with its upturned ears.

penguin donkey bookcase photo bygail worley

After Isokon forged a partnership with the publisher Penguin Books, the shelf was briefly marketed as the Penguin Donkey Bookcase before the outbreak of war put a stop to its production.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

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