Today the Anglepoise family say farewell and a heartfelt thank you to the legendary Sir Kenneth Grange, who has died at the age of 95. As Design Director from 2003 to 2024, Sir Kenneth re-defined the archetypal task light, while his work over the past 70 years helped shape the domestic life and public realm of modern Britain; the way we cook, create, consume, groom and travel – in his own words, “the sculpture of the everyday object”.

Kenneth’s career was unparalleled in its breadth and longevity. Starting out as a young draughtsman working on the 1951 Festival of Britain – that great rebirth of the arts and industry, in a nation scarred by the Second World War – and continuing well into the 21st century, he was still restlessly designing as a nonagenarian, in the era of AI and net-zero.

Along the way, creating the Intercity 125 train, London taxicab, postboxes, pens, cameras, bus shelters, speakers, razors and kitchen appliances. Just some of the 10,000+ products that left his drawing board, many of which genuinely deserve the overused moniker, ‘iconic’. He even found time to co-found Pentagram, in 1971, the first ‘supergroup’ partnership of multi-disciplinary designers, and template for the modern creative agency.

While other industrial designers may have attracted a cult following and fawning fandom for products defined by a particular aesthetic, Kenneth had no rigid ideology or manifesto. He was guided instead by a curiosity, generosity and wit that endeared him to all. His was a playful take on modernism, which captured something of the eccentricity and innate visual language of these islands.

Adept at imaginatively interpreting a brief, and intuitive in understanding user experience, he often developed deep and long-lasting friendships with clients; from Kenwood to Kodak, British Rail to Royal Mail. Anglepoise was no exception – as testament to this, his graceful Type 75 (launched in 2004) remains our best-selling model to this day, while our latest product, the Type 80, was launched in his 90th year (2019).

As a fifth-generation family business, people are at the centre of all that Anglepoise does. Sir Kenneth was not just a part of that wider family, he was in so many ways at the head of it – providing certainty in a world where so much seems out of balance. As the old proverb says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. What a journey Kenneth, the honour and the pleasure was all ours.

 

“The Anglepoise is a minor miracle of balance…a quality in life we do not value as we should”

Sir Kenneth Grange (1929-2024)

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