Influential British designer gives Portsmouth his seal of approval

IMPRESSED Sir Kenneth Grange at the Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14580-4037)
IMPRESSED Sir Kenneth Grange at the Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14580-4037)
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ONE of Britain’s most distinguished designers has said he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ by Portsmouth’s cultural offerings.

Sir Kenneth Grange, the creator of the InterCity 125 train and Britain’s first parking meter, visited some of the city’s sights yesterday including the Spinnaker Tower, Aspex Gallery, University of Portsmouth’s creative department, and Anglepoise, the iconic British lamp designer.

He said: ‘I live in the West Country, not far from Plymouth. There are interesting comparisons.

‘Cities are often home to a lot of clumsy accidents. But it looked to me like there were really quite a lot of decent buildings.

‘If you are a designer you get quite anxious that a place is going to be awful, but it was not.

‘There are quite a lot of designers around – some of us have been around for a long time.’

Sir Kenneth, who is designer director and responsible for the design of the Anglepoise, was knighted in the New Year Honours list at the end of 2012.

He has been working with the business in Farlington since 2002.

Sir Kenneth was given a tour of the city before the opening of the Joy of Design Exhibition at Anglepoise’s headquarters.

Among the images in the gallery of portfolio pictures is a wall of Sirs – including a picture of Sir Kenneth in his Hampstead home.

Simon Terry, innovation brand director and owner of Anglepoise, gave a speech at the opening, before photographer and journalist, Barbara Chandler, cut a ribbon to celebrate.

Anglepoise had bought most of Barbara’s exhibition pictures, with money going to charity.

Simon said: ‘When I went up to London and walked into the room, I saw this amazing array of pictures.

‘For Kenneth to be involved is also great. In this whole exhibition, we are bringing it out of London and bringing it to a different part of the country, which is fantastic.’

Barbara, who writes for the Evening Standard about homes and gardens, said she had decided to call her exhibition Joy of Design because everyone in her pictures was smiling.

She said: ‘It’s an ongoing project. It’s always evolving because for my work I go to design shows in Birmingham, London, Paris and Milan.’

Claire Sambrook, senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, added: ‘It has been a very successful day in that we have been able to show what we have to offer creatively in Portsmouth.’

To see Barbara’s full display, visit