Kenneth Grange

Kenneth Grange
Since the 1950s the British industrial designer Kenneth Grange - founding partner of Pentagram, one of the first multi-disciplinary design consultancies in London, has designed useful, everyday products from small-scale cameras, disposable razors and ball point pens; to medium-scale products such as food mixers, toasters, kettles and sewing machines, as well as large-scale products including a taxi, bus stop and a high speed train. Few British people have not eaten a cake mixed by his Kenwood Chef food mixer designed in 1960, boarded the high speed train launched in 1978 or jumped into the back of his TX1 black taxi designed in 1997. Grange has designed modern, accessible, successful and easy to use products for over 60 years.
The son of a policeman, Grange was born in 1929 in London’s East End. When the family moved to Wembley during World War II, Grange won a scholarship to Willesden School of Arts and Crafts. There he studied drawing and lettering, skills which on leaving in 1947 led to the opportunity to work for a succession of architects - ARCON, Bronek Katz and Vaughan, Gordon and Ursula Bowyer and in 1952 Jack Howe. In the offices of these modern architects Grange absorbed the Post War spirit of optimism - a hurry to heal - that inspired architects and artists to try new materials and forms to rebuild Britain in a new mould. In architecture and design this led to a modern, paired down, clean-lined, functional style that aspired to a new fairer future.
Granges’ career was interrupted by National Service in the Royal Engineers working as an illustrator in a unit dedicated to producing instruction manuals. Hours examining precision-engineered munitions further encouraged Grange towards industrial design. While at the practice of Gordon and Ursula Bowyer, designers of the Sports Pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain, Grange was able to visit the Festival to maintain the displays and take in the best of British design. In the office of Jack Howe, Grange designed interior balustrades and light fittings and then was able to take on small-scale free-lance work. These included the design of exhibition displays and stands for Bakelite Ltd and for the UK Atomic Energy Authority.



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