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© Science Museum

Do you know the Anglepoise Type 75 lamp? Or the Kodak Instamatic 33 camera that was widely used in the 1960s? Or have you ever seen the British Railways Intercity Type 125? Do you know the Protector Razor by Wilkinson? Or the super-slanted watering can from Geeco? These are all products that Kenneth Grange, born on 17 July 1929, designed and thus shaped the everyday life of many people, not only in the United Kingdom. In addition, there are many other products such as fountain pens, parking meters, beer glasses and alarm clocks. Kenneth Grange began studying art at an early age, with two paths, “fine art” and “commercial art”. As he needed money, he opted for “commercial”. In the late 1940s, he was hired for the new design of the Kenwood “Chef” kitchen machine, probably, as he says, because he was the cheapest and also offered to do the whole thing as quickly as possible: “I said I’d do it in three days”. Of course, three days were not enough and he had to come up with something. What, he tells in a precise and charming way in a short film, which, as an offer from the Science Museum Group London, can be seen on YouTube. In 1958, he founded his first own company, Kenneth Grange Design Ltd. For twenty years, from 1972 to 1992m, he was a partner in Pentagram, the London design studio he co-founded and which has long since become legendary, designing packaging and products for companies such as Tesco, Boots, 3Com, Swatch, Tiffany & Co, Dell, Netgear, Nike and Timex.

The result is Sir Kenneth Grange. Design that changed our lives, as it says, “in recognition of his extraordinary design career, which has helped to shape the industrial future of the modern world”, for “his continuing support of the National Railway Museum” and because he was invited to become a Fellow of the Science Museum Group. “The world of design is a wonderful world,” Sir Kenneth begins his remarks, immediately adding, “I think it’s the sculpture of everyday objects.” The story then unfolds of how one man changed “the way we cook, the way we travel and the way we record our lives”.

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