Category Archives: Conran & Partners

The Conran Manifesto

Terence talked to the Times last week, outlining his vision for a property-based path out of recession.

Conran Bricks & Mortar piece

Terence was interviewed off the back of an open letter to the Government (published in the Friday Times Letters section), which called for a revival of the “vision, ambition and pride” that dragged Britain out of the post-War slump. He cites new council housing and VAT exemption for the refurbishment of derelict buildings as key starting points.

“I truly believe we can build our way out of recession. There is a massive bubble of demand and one day that must burst and kickstart growth. But we need the Government to provide the pin-prick.”

Conran and Partners is currently working on 2,500 homes for house associations across the country.

EDIT: here’s the full text of Terence’s letter to the Times:


After working in design and business for almost 60 years I am currently enduring my sixth, and without question, worst recession. During the last recession I built Europe’s largest restaurant in Soho, because I believe the way through difficult economic times is to be bold, seize opportunity and create.

At the end of the 1970s there was a housing surplus. I wouldn’t say the stock was all good quality but if somebody needed a home they stood a good chance of getting one.

That was down to the ambitious postwar political desire to transform this country and improve lives. In 2010 we built the fewest homes since the end of the Second World War.

We need that vision, ambition and pride again because I truly believe we can build our way out of recession.

Banks need to lend, developers need to commission architects, plannes need to approve projects quickly and efficiently and we need to build. There is a massive bubble of demand that must be burst to kick-start growth. We need government to provide the pinprick.

Grant Shapps, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, throws out soundbites and tweets with Blairite fervour, but doesn’t appear to actually do much.

According to the charity Empty Homes, there are nearly one million UK properties vacant, a scandal that tweeting won’t help.

Housing starts are at near record lows and Mr Shapps can’t keep blaming “the last administration”. The coalition has been in government for almost two years now and excuses have worn thin.

— Sir Terence Conran, London SE1

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Architecture awards left and right

Left and right – or rather, east and west.

Hot on the heels of being shortlisted for a Housing Design Award Conran & Partners, our architecture team, are at it again.

They’re in the running for two categories of the Asia-Pacific Hotel & Property Design Awards, both for the stunning Hotel Icon.


A Conran team led by Richard Doone (Managing Director, Far East) and Tina Norden (Associate Director) developed two dining areas for Hotel Icon, a 262-room teaching and research hotel in Hong Kong owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The Market is an informal food court and restaurant, inspired by traditional Asian food markets. Above & Beyond is incorporates a fine dining Chinese restaurant, bar, lounge, and private dining rooms.

Hotel Icon is shortlisted in both the ‘Bar/Club/Lounge’ and ‘Restaurant within Hotel’ categories.


On the other side of the world, Conran and Partners’ new development on the site of the old Brighton Astoria cinema took the gong for Best Development at the 2012 ACUMEN Commercial Properties Awards.

Paul Zara, head of Conran’s Brighton team, headed the project, which will create Brighton’s greenest ever offices (the go-ahead was given by Brighton’s Green Party-led council). The plans include a rainwater harvesting system, natural air ventilation and solar shading.

As the judges put it,

“[The Astoria] will create much needed business space and jobs for the growing creative and culture sector in Brighton & Hove. The [architect's] intention to supply employment space located on a sustainable corridor close to Brighton Station and the edge of the North Laine is spot-on.”


Well done all round.

EDIT: the Asia-Pacific Design Awards site now features an interview with Richard to accompany the nomination.

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The Green Team

We’re very proud of our architects at Conran today. They have been shortlisted for a Housing Design Award for the Green Man Lane development in Ealing.

The awards are some of the most prestigious in public housing development, supported by the Government, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the National House Building Council.


The view of the community café from Singapore Road

The Green Man Lane estate will comprise over 750 new homes for affordable rental, shared ownership and sale. New community facilities will include an hotel, a low cost gym and a market square with cafes, park and retail space.


The whole site from above

The houses will achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will utilise rainwater collectors and water-saving technology.

The project is headed up by Paul Zara, Director of Conran & Partners.

“We want this to be outstanding architecture that raises the spirits of those who live there. Our aim is to set new standards in Ealing and create a place where people will be proud to be a resident.” 

Being shortlisted for a Housing Design Award seems like to a good start to us, Paul.

You can read more about the 2012 Housing Design Awards here.

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Brightening Hove

New architectural projects often involve difficult choices – especially in Britain.  We live in a crowded country: there are 660 of us squeezed into every square mile of land we have, versus 83 Americans, or 295 Frenchmen. This puts developable land at a high premium.

Demolition of the crumbling Granada cinema on Portland Road, Hove, is now underway. The site is being redeveloped by Conran and Partners‘ Brighton office, and will encompass 35 flats, a GP surgery, a pharmacy and a separate leisure space.

It is a controversial project: undoubtedly, the loss of a 1930s art deco cinema, even if derelict, is notable. The local community has been divided on the project: many have mourned the loss of an historic cinema; others note that the dilapidated state of the building does little for Hove’s image, and that new housing is badly needed in the town.

Gala bingo hall © Jim Stephenson / clickclickjim

The derelict cinema building

We’ve led restoration projects throughout our existence: Terence Conran teamed up with Paul Hamlyn to save Michelin House, and our recent Boundary development resides in a sensitively-restored Victorian warehouse. Sadly, the Granada cinema was beyond saving.

The new building will have high sustainability credentials, and will include 14 affordable units. The flats will have roof terraces with sea views, and a shared garden to the rear. In a nod to the site’s heritage, the corner of the building will be clad in multi-coloured Roman bricks, Additionally, an artist is being commissioned for an installation in the stairwell, which will be inspired by the memory of the cinema, or perhaps of Diana Dors, who opened the building as a bingo hall in the 70s.

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Conran interior design’s extra-curricular activities…

A little after-school activity report today from Nathan Zaver, one of our interior designers from our Conran & Partners  office down in Brighton.

We’re a busy lot on the south coast it has to be said, designing secret houses, saving lidos and giving old icons a new lease of life so it comes as no surprise that we’ve got our fingers in a theatrical pie this time!

Over the last few months I have been collaborating with Tristan Sharpe of Dream Think Speak on the Interior Design of the their next production which will be their working of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

It’s been really good fun working on this, especially as it’s a new experience designing set’s for a complex imagining.

I’ve really enjoyed working on it and can’t wait to see it built and to see the production!

THE REST IS SILENCE interweaves performance and film to create a vigorous new interpretation that explores the messy underbelly of Shakespeare’s great play. 


Don’t just take his word for it catch ‘The Rest is Silence’ at one of the performances below…

THE REST IS SILENCE will premiere at the Brighton Festival before travelling to the Riverside 

Studios as part of LIFT 2012 and then on to Northern Stage as part of the RSC Newcastle season. 

Booking: 01273 709709
(Booking opens 23rd February)

Booking: 0208 237 1111

Booking: 0191 230 5151 

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Conran’s Tuscan transformation…

Our internationally-acclaimed architecture and design practice Conran and Partners has been signed up to create one of the leading residential resort destinations in Tuscany.

We have unveiled our vision for the new estate in the heart of one of Europe’s most desirable locations and are now working on the masterplan to turn that vision into reality.

 The Il Ciocco estate, 40km north of Lucca and an hour from Pisa Airport, has been carefully managed by the Marcucci family since 1949. The family has a long history in the Valle del Serchio, with their pharmaceutical business establishing its headquarters here.

 An existing hotel is being refurbished, upgraded and rebranded as the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. This project is expected to be completed for the summer 2012 and will see Il Ciocco become one of the leading hotel resorts in Tuscany.

Our vision emphasises the importance of the landscape of Il Ciocco and ensures the estate works as a whole. The plans will see a new community on the west-facing 700 hectare estate with around 100 houses, a potential retreat hotel on the summit of the estate, a locanda, or inn, with rooms and community and leisure facilities.

 The homes will be a mixture of renovated traditional Tuscan buildings together with new-build houses sympathetic to the surroundings. We have a great track record in the restoration of historic buildings; giving them a new sense of purpose and successfully integrating modern design into older architectural styles.

The project is being headed up by Interior Design Director Jane Lawrence and Architectural Director Nigel Lea who said:

“The vision is to transform Il Ciocco into a one of the leading hotel resorts in Tuscany, while retaining and enhancing its place in the heart of the existing community. 

Conran and Partners has a portfolio of work that gives us the experience and expertise to turn that vision into reality.

 We are a London-based design studio with an international perspective and reputation. Working closely with the Marcucci family and Knight Frank we know we can create something truly beautiful and inspiring.

 Il Ciocco will be entirely Tuscan and will appeal to people who understand the beauty and the quality of life in this region of Italy.

 But it will also bear the hallmark of the Conran design ethos which has proved so successful on large-scale mixed use developments from London to Tokyo to India and Asia.

We have spent a long time studying the countryside to inform our vision for the site and our masterplan will use the landscape, and in particular the hillside, to develop a sense of a journey through the estate from arrival at the foot of the estate to the summit.”

All that remains to be said now is when do we get to go?!



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Conran creates one of Japan’s largest redevelopment projects in recent years…

Conran and Partners have been working in Asia for some years now with a number of significant projects on the go, the largest of which is the master-planning and architecture of Futako Tamagawa a 20 hectare urban regeneration project in Tokyo. It happens to be the largest project on site in Tokyo at the moment and when completed will provide 400,000m² of retail, office, leisure and residential building, as well as a new city park. Here is what the FT had to say about it this weekend…


Japan has had an enduring love affair with the design sensibility of Sir Terence Conran, and nowhere is that clearer than in the choice of his architecture company to create one of the country’s largest redevelopment projects in recent years…..

For the full article please follow this link

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Conran’s hidden house…

Our architects Conran and Partners have just been granted planning permission for their ‘hidden house’ in Brighton!

The development consists of three new houses in all, a ‘hidden house’ and two 4 bedroom homes. The site is in the most prestigious Roedean area and will be the most environmentally friendly homes in that part of the city. 

The ‘hidden house’ to the north of the site is an L shaped home which is partly built into the ground with a banked garden that lowers into a south facing terrace. The house is designed to make maximum use light and includes an open plan living area on the ground floor andbedrooms and bathrooms to the 1st floor.

The House will be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5,’Translated… a very environmentally friendly dwelling’.

If you want to know more about our ‘hidden house’ please contact Paul Zara and Nathan Zaver in the Brighton Studio…
Click here to email Conran & Partners

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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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Four years on: Our Brighton architects lead the way in housing design

Four they are jolly good fellows! 

This week sees the 4th birthday of the Conran and Partners Brighton studio.  Despite the recession kicking in soon after opening, after four years of trading the studio has doubled in size.  The team has had some very significant London successes, including winning the project to redevelop Green Man Lane in Ealing to create over 700 new homes for A2Dominion/Rydon, to helping L&Q on their plans for the former Walthamstow Stadium. Most recently they won the project to redevelop the listed Lillian Baylis School in Lambeth.

Green Man Lane

A vision of Walthamstow stadium...

Sketch for Lilian Baylis School

In Brighton the team is working on the redevelopment of the Granada Cinema site on Portland Road in Hove for Affinity Sutton, further refurbishment of Embassy Court, the modernist landmark on the seafront (top of page), an amazing house on the beach in Hove, proposals for an apart-hotel on the former ice rink site in Queen Square and the city’s greenest office building on Gloucester Place.

The latest on the Queen's Square development

Lee Davies and Paul Zara lead the 18-strong team and are confident about the future, despite the state of the world.  

“The demand for housing is so great that it must eventually kick-start growth.  We have an excellent track record locally and nationally and are well placed to assist our clients in moving their projects forward…

Paul Zara

Lee Davies

It’s been a very interesting four years, and I am very proud of the team we have built, they have strong skills and we are ready to take on any challenge that comes our way!”

Long may they continue..!

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