Ernest Race was a successful furniture designer from England. He was born on October 16 in the year 1913, in Northumberland, England. He was well known for his innovative furniture designs. One of his masterpieces was the BA chair which gained world wide fame. The designs of Marcel Breuer and Charles Eames inspired Race and made him take up furniture designing as his profession.
Race completed his schooling from St Paul's School, London. He graduated as an inter
ior designer from Bartlett School of Architecture, London in the year 1935. His first employment was as a designer with the company named Troughton & Young in the city of London. This company manufactured household and industrial lighting. Soon Race quit the company and visited India. He was impressed with the hand weaving and studied it completely from Ikkadu Village industry. Later, under the guidance of A. B. Read, he started Race Fabrics, a fabric design firm and a shop too, to put his own designs for production.
During the Second World War, Race worked in the Auxiliary Fire Service in London. Post 1945, he created Ernest Race Ltd with J. W. Noel Jordan as his partner. He set up this company to design and also to manufacture his uniquely designed furniture. Race headed the company as director and also as chief designer. In the year 1962, he renamed his firm as Race Furniture Ltd., which produced nominal, organic designs with the use of materials in an economic manner. The main goal of this company was to find alternate materials to construct furniture, during the post war, when there was timber shortage.
Race, being the Director of Design, his creation of furniture was mainly based on light-weighted alloys and the laminated plastics. His extraordinary design was the 'B.A.' chair. He made it by re-smelting the aluminium alloy which he got it during the wartime from the aircraft scraps. The masterpiece was first introduced to the public as a display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where the ‘Britain Can Make’ event was conducted. In the year 1954, the ‘B.A’ chair won the gold medal at the Milan Triennale, which was held for the 10th time. Now then the furniture gained more fame and was in constant sale for more than ten years.
Race designed a range of garden furniture for the Festival of Britain. These were constructed with bent-steel frames. His other works included the 'Antelope' chair and the 'Springbok' chair, in which the seating surface was made of plastic-covered springs. These designs became successful and led to decide Race as the leading furniture designer contractor. He started an independent consultancy by resigning from the post in the 1963.
In the same year, he introduced his Sheppey series of designs which was based on the components that were combined to construct a wide variety of chairs and settees.
On the whole, Race was one amongst the pioneer and creative furniture designers of the twentieth century. Ernest Race died on January 22nd in the year 1964 in Barnes, London.