Textile and furniture designer, manufacturer and retailer, Race was one of the most inventive of mid-century British designers.
After the Second World War almost all materials, especially wood, were in extremely short supply. The Government 'Utility Scheme' of 1942 specified that the use of wood was to be rationed. Jordan and Race, therefore, were in 1945-46 obliged to produce affordable furnishings from those materials that were not restricted .In 1946, at the Victoria & Albert Museum's morale-boosting exhibition 'Britain Can Make It', Race unveiled to the public his range of cast-aluminum furniture. The traditional styling of the range concealed revolutionary manufacturing processes.
Ernest Race achieved national acclaim during the 1950's with his unique, forward thinking furniture designs. The Antelope chair, featured at the Festival of Britain in 1951, reflected the spirit of the age. With it's slender steel rod frame and balled feet.
In 1954, Ernest Race was awarded the Gold Medal at the Milan Triennale for his BA3 chair, which was designed 9 years earlier. The BA3 dining chairs were, for ease of assembly and shipping, made up of five interchangeable parts. Initially made from sand-cast aluminium, and later made from die-cast aluminium, the BA3 chair was at the cutting edge of post-war design.
The Antelope chair, like the aluminium BA3 chair, was also to receive a commendation at the 1954 Milan Triennale. Throughout the 1950s Race continued to experiment with steel rod, producing a number of designs up to 1958. During the height of his success, in the period 1945-1955, Ernest Race produced highly resolved and versatile designs from the most unlikely of materials.