Race Furniture is proud to still manufacture the iconic mid- twentieth century designs of its founder Ernest Race.
Race’s first chair, the BA3, was exhibited in the 1946 Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition ‘Britain Can Make It’. At a time of limited resources, the BA3 manufacturing process was revolutionary and used salvaged materials, including recast aluminium from redundant aircraft and upholstery from recycled RAF lightweight cotton duck fabric. Today, the BA3 is exhibited a t the V&A as an example of iconic British design.
Race was awarded many accolades and his furniture could be found everywhere from the suburban home to the most lavish ocean liner. In 1951 Race’s acclaimed Antelope & Roebuck became the seating for the Festival of Britain and took their place in British design history.
Interested in reading more about our heritage? Hover over the arrows at each end to scroll through our timeline and click on a marked date to read more about what was happening in the business during that time.
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.