(Sir) Misha Black

Place of Birth
Baku Azerbaijan

  • Born      16 October 1910 Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Died       11 October 1977

 Sir Misha Black OBE KBE was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, of Russian parents and came to England when he was under two years old. Educated at the Dame Alice Owen School in Islington, he went on to take evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and studied briefly in Paris in 1928. He began designing posters at the age of 17, and in 1928 designed the stand for the Rio Tinto Company at the Seville Exhibition in Spain.

It was about this time that he met Lucy Rossetti, the great-niece of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The two worked for Wickham and Arundell Display Ltd and studied together under Hans Kiesewelter. They set up a partnership and set about designing book-plates, book jackets, posters, and exhibition stands, under the name Studio Z, working from an attic overlooking Seven Dials. The partnership lasted about a year, after which Black worked alone until 1933/1934, when he joined Charles and Henry Bassett Milner and Thomas Gray and others in founding the Industrial Design Partnership.

 His early designs included television and radio sets for E. K. Cole Ltd. From 1936 to 1950 he acted as consultant architect to the Kardomah chain of cafes was responsible for the redesign of the Kardomah cafés in London and Manchester. Through his work on commercial display stands he became a leader in the field of exhibition design working as co-ordinating designer for the 1938 Modern Architectural Research (MARS) Group exhibition New architecture and as interior designer for the British pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. On the outbreak of war, he joined the Ministry of Information and was given the job of principal exhibitions designer. He also became involved in setting up a new design group, the Design Research Unit, in 1943. From 1959 to 1975 he was a professor of industrial design at the Royal College of Art in London and was knighted in 1972.

 In 1935 he married Helen Lillian, daughter of Frank Foster Evans, engineer, with whom he had one son and one daughter (the marriage was dissolved in 1952). Black married for a second time in 1955; his new wife was Edna Joan, daughter of George Septimus Fairbrother, engineer, with whom he had one son.



1956                       Misha Black, Design Research Unit 37 Park Street London W1

Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Kardomah CafĂ© Market Street Manchester   Manchester  GMCA  England