Sir Terence Conran (1931 – 2020)
Image: Courtesy of The Design Museum, London
Sir Terence Conran has died, aged 88. Conran was one of the world's best-known designers, retailers and restaurateurs. After studying textile design and setting up his own furniture studio, Conran joined an architectural firm in 1950 and worked on the subsequent year's Festival of Britain. He founded the Conran Design Studio in 1956 and in 1964 opened the first of the Habitat chain of home furnishing stores that revolutionised design on the British high street in the 60s and 70s and continued to expand its influence around the globe. Influenced by European design, Conran is credited with introducing duvets to Britain. Later he established The Conran Shop and opened stores in London, Paris, New York, across Japan and most recently in Seoul, the largest Conran Shop in the world.
Image: Furnishing fabric, 1952 (designed) by Sir Terence Conran for David Whitehead & Sons Ltd. © Victoria and Albert Museum.
In 1989 he founded the Design Museum in London, the world's first museum dedicated to design which moved to larger premises in the former Commonwealth Building, Kensington, in 2016. He wrote more than 50 books that broadly reflected his design philosophy and was an honorary professor of the University of the Creative Arts. In 1983 Terence was knighted for his services to design in 1983 and in 2018 he was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty The Queen, one of the highest distinctions available in the United Kingdom.
In a statement Conran’s family said: “He was a visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career that revolutionised the way we live in Britain. A proud patriot, Sir Terence promoted the best of British design, culture and the arts around the world and at the heart of everything he did was a very simple belief that good design improves the quality of people's lives. From the late forties to the present day, his energy and creativity thrived in his shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels and through his many design, architecture and furniture making businesses. Founding The Design Museum in London was one of his proudest moments and through its endeavours he remained a relentless champion of the importance of education to young people in the creative industries.”
For more information visit www.designmuseum.org