Misha Black, industrial and exhibition designer and architect: papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Scrapbooks of commissions (1922 - 1977); photographs including designs for souvenirs (ca. 1930 - ca. 1950); notes on the Industrial Design Partnership, the New York World Trade Fair and Britain Can Make It (1935 - 1947); papers relating to Design Council, Royal College of Art and Society of Industrial Artists (1939 - 1977); leaflets and reports relating to design education (1940 - 1978); address book and engagement diaries (1941 - 1976); lecture notes and research notes (1942 - 1975); Festival of Britain papers (1947 - 1951); biographies relating to Misha Black (1948 - 1976); correspondence (1948 - 1976); industrial design press cuttings and typescript papers (1951 - 1977); correspondence, photographs, press cuttings and reports concerning international exhibitions (1952 - 1962); International Council of Societies of Industrial Design reports (1959 - 1977); correspondence, notes, photographs, press cuttings and reports relating to visits abroad (1961 - 1976); Design Research Unit bulletins (1964 - 1976); UNESCO reports (1964 - 1978).

Administrative / Biographical History

Misha Black (1910 - 1977) was born in Baku, Russian Empire (now Azerbaijan) and his family emigrated to Britain in 1912. He attended evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and in 1930 set up Studio Z, a design studio, with Lucy Rossetti. He became a partner in the design consultancy, Industrial Design Partnership, from 1933 to 1939. During the Second World War he held the post of principal exhibition architect at the Ministry of Information. In 1945 he established the design consultancy Design Research Unit with Milner Gray and Herbert Read, which produced designs for the Britain Can Make It exhibition, 1946 and the Festival of Britain, 1951. He was also employed as a design consultant to various companies including the British Railways Board, Kardomah Ltd, London Transport and Vickers Ltd and he was a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee from 1952. From 1963 to 1977 Black was a partner in the architects' company Black, Bayes and Gibson. He was also professor of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Arts from 1959 to 1975.

Misha Black was involved in the activities and development of many British art and design associations including: the Advisory Council of the Institute of Contemporary Arts; the Art Workers Guild (master 1963); the Design and Industries Association (president 1974 - 1976); the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (master 1955 - 1957); the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (president 1959 - 1961); the Society of Industrial Artists (president 1954 - 1956). He received a knighthood in 1972.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only.

Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These restrictions are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Lady Black, 1980.

Cataloguing supported by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of The David Berg Foundation, New York.

Other Finding Aids

Full list available at AAD and NAL.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.