grange’s england


Somewhere in the backslapping fest that was the final issue of the News of the World, there were the stirrings of something worth reading. Under the headline “Cream of Britain”, the article revealed what MPs had chosen as the greatest designs from their constituencies. These included the custard cream, the fish finger and McCain Smiley Potato Faces. Not to belittle the cultural impact of anthropomorphised potato powder, but MPs should probably head down to the Design Museum. In a retrospective entitled Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern, which opens tomorrow, they’ll encounter a more apt selection of the cream of Britain – and it’s the work of just one man. Kenneth Grange, who turned 82 over the weekend, has designed much of the domestic and public landscape that we’ve taken for granted over the last 50 years. Indoors we’ve used his Kenwood food mixers, Wilkinson Sword razors and Parker pens. Outdoors we ride his InterCity 125 train and his London taxi cab, we sit at his bus stops and on his benches, and for decades we fed change into his parking meters. His output has had such a subtle and pervasive influence on our daily behaviour that it’s almost worrying.

more from Justin McGuirk at The Guardian here.