Ernest Race 1913 – 1964
Ernest Race was a key figure in twentieth-century British furniture design; his skill was to use ingenious manufacturing processes to create contemporary furniture from improvised or recycled materials.
Ernest Race was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1913 and after graduating in interior design from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, he joined the lighting firm Troughton & Young as a draughtsman. After visiting a weaving village in India in 1937, he returned to London and opened a shop in Knightsbridge to sell textiles and carpets.
Race did not start designing furniture until just after World War II when he answered an advertisement from engineer, J.W. Noel Jordan. Jordan ran an engineering company during the war and believed that new manufacturing techniques could be used in the production of furniture, which was still largely craft-based. He opened a factory in Clapham, London and looked for a collaborator to design utilitarian, mass-produced furniture.