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Kenneth Grange 18.08.11

Kenneth grange train

Kenneth Grange's high-speed train

Yesterday (22 May 2014), Icon caught up with legendary designer Kenneth Grange at Clerkenwell Design Week. We will feature the video of the interview soon, but in the mean time these are a few of his favourite things  

I'm lucky enough not to want anything else seriously. A complete makeover would be desired but tricky. Last year I got a couple of new titanium knees but the rest is a biggish job ... So my choice reflects, fairly lightheartedly, what would cheer me up a bit more. Something that both works and is as good as an Epstein or a Caro as sculpture is a fantastic bargain.

Tower crane
Unlike other conspicuous bits of serious hardware (wind farms, for example), the tower crane is a testimony to lateral thinking on a big scale. It has transformed the building business worldwide. In my own lifetime I have seen it arrive from the blue. I designed an exhibition stand way, way back in the 1950s and the then ministry was showing this invention (which was from France, I think) only in photos. In 60 years the crane has done more to stimulate architecture than anything else.


Citroën DS
Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre
It's the 1950s sensation and the drama of its presence has never been equalled. Real public sculpture, as well as being useful and innovative. It had headlights that "looked" around corners, and was from the golden, pre-marketing days when the motor trade was allowed to sell "eccentricities". It could truthfully be called modernist.


(image: Citroën Communication)

High speed train (HST)
Kenneth Grange
Immodest I know, but sensational when you are at track level. I do think now that it is the best thing I ever did, even with its warts. I would like one at home.


Dying tulips
Beautiful when alive but dramatic in death, changing their form and colour for the better with each passing day. The best possible value in the flower world.


Cat's eyes
Percy Shaw
I hardly need say anything. Whenever you drive anywhere, this public benefit is a source of reassurance and pleasure all the time.


Owen Hatherley reviewed Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern at the Design Museum in 2011



Kenneth Grange

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I'm lucky enough not to want anything else seriously

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