Sir Terence Conran
Founder of The Conran Shop, designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran (1931-2020) is widely regarded as the voice of authority on design in the UK. Inspired by Bauhaus principles and Scandinavian craftsmanship, Sir Terence believed that every designer should have a personal understanding of materials and processes.
Sir Terence's inimitable ethos, ideas around taste-making and his design philosophy centred around well-designed products and furniture that eased the difficulties of contemporary life; Sir Terence wished to make designs available that “grow old gracefully and slip seamlessly into people’s lives and give them years of pleasure.” Channelling his versatile creativity into a lifetime in design, Sir Terence consistently pioneered his ethos that good, accessible design improves the quality of everyday life.
Sir Terence’s early career saw him design innovative products and textiles, found the Conran Design Group and open the UK’s first flat-pack furniture manufacturer. His myriad of accomplishments made ‘plain, simple, useful’ design accessible and encouraged the expression of personality through interiors. Having founded Habitat in 1964, by the time The Conran Shop’s first Store opened its doors in 1973, the Conran name had become synonymous with good design.
Across his illustrious career, Sir Terence opened retail stores, founded architectural practices and launched award-winning restaurants. He played a monumental role in single-handedly elevating carefully chosen pockets of the capital by spotting property potential and renovating abandoned buildings, transforming them to become The Conran Shop Stores and restaurants like Bibendum.
At the centre of it all was his wish to make functional design and spaces available for all. Most recently, developing his long-running Design Museum project – which ensures that there is an exhibition venue in the UK that is entirely devoted to design - Sir Terence opened an impressive new Design Museum in Kensington, marking a self-proclaimed landmark moment in his career.