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The Brits Who Designed the Modern World

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Review

Watching this set of profiles made me feel bad I had never heard of Sir Kenneth Grange. Have you? He was responsible for the design of a stunning range of everyday objects, including the reassuringly solid Kenwood Chef mixer, the Kodak Instamatic camera, the Intercity 125 – and disposable razors.

There are interesting anecdotes here from Grange and other design veterans, such as Margaret Calvert, who describes how her road-sign typefaces were tested by mounting them on top of a car and driving towards testers to see at what distance they became legible. Andrew Ritchie recalls the origins of the Brompton Bike (“I was not a natural business man”) and Sir Terence Conran recalls changing Britain’s sleeping (and other) habits with the introduction of the duvet.

Summary

Arts reporter Brenda Emmanus marks the opening of Kensington's new Design Museum this month by profiling 10 of the most celebrated living British designers, whose work has revolutionised the nation's homes, streets and culture since the Second World War. Among those whose careers are highlighted are road-sign designer Margaret Calvert, ZX Spectrum creator Rick Dickinson, Andrew Ritchie, who gave the world the `Brompton Bike', and Kenneth Grange, who designed everything from British Rail's distinctive InterCity 125 to Kenwood food mixers. A panel of contributors including Will.i.am, Jeremy Paxman, Pete Waterman and Ade Adepitan explain how their lives have benefited from British designs.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Brenda Emmanus
Executive Producer Janet Lee
Series Producer John Mullen

Documentary

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