Ken leads the firm and has been involved in major architectural and interior projects in the UK and across the world. He works at board-level with clients to set strategic, design and aesthetic direction for each project and agree how it is to be implemented. Many of the projects he has overseen have won international awards, including those for architectural design effectiveness, interiors, lighting and product, and space management.
Ken has the spirit and passion of a creative entrepreneur. He welcomes challenges, whether they relate to design, materials, construction methods or planning issues, and meets them with energy and enthusiasm. He makes things work in ways that might not have been previously considered.
This spirit was evident from his time at the Royal College of Art. He went on to work as design director on London’s Royal Opera House redesign with celebrated architects Jeremy Dixon and Ed Jones before setting up architectural firm Harper Mackay with David Harper in 1987 and then Mackay + Partners in 2004.
Ken’s entrepreneurial instinct shows through his ability to identify the potential of a development site, often bringing opportunities to developers. It also underpins the way he works, collaborating with other designers from Lord Rogers and Renzo Piano to Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola.
It has led him to partner with like-minded people outside architecture on ventures requiring a marrying of expertise. For example, for ten years he was a partner in Clerkenwell restaurant, Portal, which he also designed, with restaurateur Antonio Correia. Previously, he and James Mair, founder of London high-end furniture company Viaduct, set up a contract furniture side-line.
These were an adjunct to Mackay & Partners, which remains his main creative outlet.