Category Archives: Conran & Company

2011: what a year

As we turn the corner into Olympic year we wanted to reflect a little on what’s happened here at CONRAN in 2011: it really was quite a year.

We began working with Marks & Spencer, for whom we designed our beautiful branded collection of home products which launched this Autumn. Our new Spring Collection hits the shops any day now! Watch out for fabulous wicker lamp shades , elegant bedroom essentials and an Alfresco collection which will make waiting for summer even more painful…!

Everyone's favourite...the segment clock

Our range instore...

Terence celebrated the auspicious occasion of his 80th birthday  celebrated in part by a wonderful Terence Conran retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum – which runs until the 4th March and was designed by our graphic & interior design teams.  Did you know Time Out also voted Terence as one of their ‘people of 2011’ ?

The Telegraph liked him quite a lot too….

The Conran Shop have been doing all number of gorgeous and interesting things including some fab seasonal window displays and – of course – developing new ranges of product like the Barton & Pavilion furniture ranges, designed by Terence, manufactured by Ercol.

Conran Contracts worked on one of the most exciting new developments of the year at Westfield, Stratford (more about that next week)

We also launched new collaborative designs with Alessi and original BTC lighting and our brand new beautiful Bath & Body range designed by Conran Studio.

Architects Conran & Partners have been busy planning the development of a huge eco housing estate in Ealing and the redevelopment of the Astoria Cinema in Brighton and London landmark Walthamstow Stadium…and that’s just here in the UK!

2011 also saw the launch of Conran Singh, our interactive agency dealing with all things digital who have already completed exciting projects for community organisation Your Square Mile and luxury mobile phone brand Vertu. More to come from them with a Q&A with founder Daljit Singh next week.

 And that’s just off the top of our heads….

We predict 2012 will be even more action packed!

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Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

With Christmas Day only 4 days away none of us have done our shopping but, with carols belting out in some of our studios and christmas party time in full swing, the mood is turning festive!

This year’s rudolph-themed christmas card was designed by the team at Conran Studio - simply pop his Conran-blue shapes out of the front of the card and put him together, slotting him into the handily designed slit at the back. He’s a keeper.

Conran's 2011 Christmas Card

The frosted forms of our beautiful new Conran Bath & Body range look perfectly in keeping with the white handdrawn christmas trees and some of the cool, contemporary white ceramics and glassware from the Conran/M&S collection in our snowy Arctic-themed windows.

Read more about this on our brand new Conran Bath & Body blog…

And let’s not forget the annual “design-a-christmas-decoration” staff competition. He’s a young Terence looking decidely angelic!

And if you’ve still got presents to buy and have run out of inspiration have a look at ‘Christmas by Design’ – the carefully curated Christmas range from the Conran Shop.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Watch out for much more from us in 2012!

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How do you create a range of bath and body products?

In our case it took an iconic brand (ours!), unique bottle design and branding (from Conran Studio), bespoke fragrances (from leading international fragrance house drom) and fabulous top-of-the-shop formulations, development and manufacturing know-how (from the highly experienced team at Kokomo Studio) to create our brand new Conran Bath & Body range which went on sale this month.

Not only did our range have to smell and feel good but it also had to look great too; we wanted to create something we would be proud to have on display, bottles that are beautiful objects in their own right.

Our range is inspired by the feel and forms of quintessential Kilner jars and old apothecary bottles. Robust – and elegant. The bottles look super smart and feel heavy and generous in your hand.

Will Unwin from Conran Studio working on the bottle design

An early idea for the range...

Some samples of the fragrances in spray and lotion form

One of the best jobs was choosing which scents we were going to use – what does Conran smell like ? (no answers on postcards please!). 

Fragrance testing has to be one of the most fun and fascinating ways to spend an hour’s meeting  – and also leaves the meeting room thoroughly fragrant for the next lucky user.

Did you know in order to ‘clear your nose’ when trialling lots of different fragrances that you should smell the inside of your elbow?! So the pros tell us….

The different associations people have for smells and the sensations they can evoke in people are amazing. One opinion on an early scent idea ricocheted from ‘it reminds me of going shopping when I was a kid…’ to ‘it smells like the inside of a lovely old antique wardrobe’.

All the development team liked the scents well enough (derived from fresh green steams and and oudh wood) but what did other people think? We thought we would see what the rest of the Conran building had to say about it!

Katherine from reception having a sniff...

Some buyers from The Conran Shop discussing the scents

As always with any product range once the first lot are out on the shelves it’s time to start developing the next lot. This time we are looking at introducing an element of citrus and possibly a more floral note – and maybe even a little snap of aniseed. We’ll keep you posted.

 The first two Conran bath and body ranges ‘1’ and ‘2’ are out now. 

Available online at The Conran Shop. Starting at £12.

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Terence’s ‘nice’ bowl for Alessi


We are loving the The ‘Nice’ bowl – designed by Terence Conran as part of the Alessi Officina collection. It’s his first piece for the company and has been designed with an inverted beehive shape and mirrored double wall bowl,  inspired by a stack of old wooden bowls once commissioned by him.

Added to the Alessi catalogue in honour of his 80th Birthday, Terence named it ‘nice’, as he suggests the double wall structure makes it the perfect ice receptacle.


Available now from The Conran Shop

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Do the press like our M&S range? We think so!

There have been some fantastic pieces of press recently for the Conran M&S range now in stores and online

An interview with Terence in the Yorkshire Post, here pictured sitting in the Bainbridge chair.

The Bainbridge chair also features in Novembers issue of  House Beautiful


As well as printed publications bloggers have also been showing their love for the range with the lovely Norwegian  interiors blog Ideas To Steal mentioning it.

Sofas and chairs are proving very popular with House and Garden featuring the Ackroyd sofa as one of their stylish ideas for the home. What a beautiful page of colour!


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What CONRAN saw – London Design Festival 2011

‘So much to do so little time’ was the general call from many of the Conran team this time last week as the London Design Festival 2011 swung fully into action with the opening of many of the larger shows around the capital.

This year Tent and designersblock in the ever-fascinating Farmiloe Building seemed to showcase a more raw, up and coming talent whereas Tramshed and designjunction housed some of the design world’s most interesting and creative brands with a easy going but professional vibe. 

A group of us went along to the opening party of designjunction, which debuted in Milan this year, showcasing ‘the best in global design’. Fascinating to see inside the Victoria Building on Southampton Row too. 

 

 

Another Country was a highlight with current classics presiding over a small selection of exquisite new ideas including Continue reading

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Terence’s Top 10 Conran/M&S products: The Marlowe Armchair

“This chair has always been a favourite of mine and for a long time I toyed with the idea of it being a floor-based item with no legs as when we saw one of the first samples the legs hadn’t arrived with the main body of the chair and we were rather taken with it just sitting on the floor.  However in the end we decided to give people the choice and so this piece is available with removable legs” Terence Conran

This chair offers sink-into comfort with the smart, good-looks of the finest contemporary upholstery. What’s more it’s hand-made in Britain. Who says we don’t make anything anymore?

£999, available from M&S stores throughout the UK and online at www.marksandspencer.com/autumn

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