Tag Archives: CONRAN

Conran/M&S loving begins

Not only have Living Etc featured our new collection for M&S (still a bit hush-hush!) but Retro To Go and The Guardian have obviously been keeping a watchful eye out too.

There’s not much info available online about the collection at the moment because it’s not actually available to buy online until the 23rd September. It will be launching in London’s M&S Stratford store on the 13th September and throughout the UK the week after to coincide with online launch.

Don’t forget also that this Autumn’s range is just a taster of things to come: 70 products that pave the way for the +300 that will be available from January 2012 as part of the M&S Spring/Summer collection.

Here’s a glimpse of the Wilkins Sideboard with fun, fire hose valve handles in teal. Open the drawers too to reveal a flash of teal in the lining.  

Also don’t forget we will be introducing you to Terence’s Top Ten products from the Preview Autumn collection from Sept 12th – when we will feature one each day right here on the Conran blog. Watch this space!

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Conran & Company’s: Hot and Not from Designs of the Year (mostly Hot!)

Just in case you missed Designs of the Year at the Design Museum which closed last weekend here’s a quick summary from the team at Conran & Company.

The Thomas Heatherwick Spun chairs (last seen here in our post on the Milan Furniture Fair 2010) were a hit – you really have to trust that you don’t fall backwards onto your head!

Still, they are really fun and surely a great solution for outside – available to buy at the Design Museum shop!


In the ‘Interactive’ category the crowdsourced Johnny Cash project was really intriguing and beautiful – such a great idea. (Crowdsourcing and crowfunding is rather a hot topic at the moment – see our post from the debate we held here a few weeks ago- with full report to come…)


There’s more than one cycling enthusiast in our offices and the Transport section gave us plenty of food for thought when it came to new designs and innovations in this category.

We became slightly obsessed with the videos of people using the rather unusual but very fun looking Yike Bikes


– but some were less impressed by the new ‘super commuter’ offering from Vanmoof  – which while very practical (especially loving the integrated heavy-duty lock) was deemed to be slightly ugly – still, anything to stop your bike getting nicked!


In general the Graphics category was much admired, not in the least the eventual winner, the amazingly simple, almost Feng-Shui type images for a Swedish Cookery book: Homemade is Best by Forsman & Bodenfors for IKEA- carefully composed graphic still lifes that bring the ingredients centrestage.

Of course it goes without saying that we loved the overall winner, the now ubiquitous Plumen light bulb by Sam Wilkinson and Hulger (read our exclusive Q&A with Sam here….)


If you missed Designs of the Year do not fret there’s an equally brilliant exhibition on Kenneth Grange (you’ll know more of his products than you think) – and watch this space for details of a very special exhibition later in the year…all about Terence!

Celebrating his 80th birthday in September, it’s entitled THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and will feature work from over 60 years including original habitat pieces, Terence’s sketches and bestselling products from over the eras.

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Conran: Terence’s perfect weekend

Ever wonderered what Terence does when he’s not ‘working’? Actually, as we see from this article on his perfect weekend in The FT How To Spend It, a perfect weekend can mean quite a bit of working too…

Still, we are glad to see he seems to allow a fair amount of time for entertaining, ‘sitting outside in the garden’, building rills, perusing junk shops and buying delicious, locally sourced food to cook as well as spending Sunday with his children and grandchildren. What indeed could be more perfect….

Click here to read the full article…

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Conran: Where have all the shops gone? – Independent’s Day.

Whatever you thought of it as a business, Habitat’s decline and fall is very sad news indeed.  We all have loads of Habitat in our homes, and its loss means more dreaded visits to IKEA (don’t ask me about my personal experience of buying a bed for my younger son.  Or how long it took to make!).  Or risking buying online –  things never look quite the same, do they?  And I’m not sure I want it that cheaply from China.  

But what is happening?  Woolworths, Habitat, Thorntons, HMV, Oddbins…what next?   Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is meant to be sorting it for the government – I wait with baited breath.

Meanwhile, Fiona Hamilton, retail partner at agents King Sturge is less pessimistic.  Looking to the USA, source of all retail trends, they are forecasting a 5.1% annual increase in retail sales. In her recent Property Week article (6 May 11) she looks at social media and the role that now plays in marketing. Sites like Groupon and price comparison apps on your phone are big news.  Both the luxury and the budget ends of the spectrum are thriving stateside and ‘stores within stores’ are big (“brand butlering” it’s called- keep up!).  The big boys such as Walmart are looking at smaller stores, so will we see mini-ASDA’s competing with the ubiquitous Tesco? (I have 5 Tesco stores within 1 mile of my house).

But 4th July is Independent Retailers day. And all over the country we are being urged to buy at least one thing from an independent shop. This has to be an alternative, parallel route to bringing back our high streets.  Here in Brighton we have the unique North Laine area, loads of small interesting shops, cafes and bars.  It’s where the Body Shop started!  Have a look at www.uniquebrighton.com or better still come here and spend some money.


Maybe the high street has a future after all.

Paul Zara, Director at Conran & Partners, Brighton office.


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Conran: Something for a London weekend: Ready, Steady…Pedal!

One of the favourite events of the year for many of our bicycling-obsessed members of staff is the London Nocturne – when Smithfield market becomes an open air velodrome packed with excited contestants, spectators and the odd brave action photographer.

The highlight of the afternoon is the folding bike race – after a 30m sprint contestants, many of whom are suited and booted true commuter-style, must build their bikes as fast as possible before setting off on a 5 lap dash around the streets.

With 77 competitors currently registered for this year’s race it promises to be well worth a visit – the winner gets an impressive Kansi 9 Twenty.

With fixed gear skid races, team challenges and even a penny farthing race there is something for everyone.

Here’s a video of the beginning of last year’s exciting commuter-dash just to wet the appetite.


If you fancy something a bit more farcical you can always check out the London Naked Bike ride that’s also happening in the capital tomorrow. Let’s hope the weather stays suitably clement!

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Conran: Milan Furniture Fair Trend Report

As promised, here’s an overview of trends shown in Milan by Conran & Company’s Alice Walsh.

Milan, as always, was great fun, but the economic situation (and maybe the volcano’s 2010 disruption) was definitely evident in the lack of new products being launched this year.Instead we saw products re-issued in new colours and materials.

Colour was generally toned down and more grown up. However there were some brights thrown into the mix. These included lead reds, vapor yellows and sulphate blues. Combinations of these 3 colours were visible in a lot of stands and exhibitions.

Colour combinations

Colour combinations

There was a definite sense of ‘casual living’ throughout the fair. This sense of realism was shown through soft plump upholstery, coupled with fat piping, hospital corners and blanket stitching to illustrate construction and emphasise comfort.

Casual living at Vitra

Casual living at Vitra

Another noticeable trend was that tables were presented in clusters rather than formal nests.Honesty in material and form was a nice extension from the last few years.







And off the wall lighting kept appearing too, whether it was a re-issue in a new colour or a new design.



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Conran: CEO Speaks: The changing face of the London skyline

Should we keep every old building just because it’s old – or should we concentrate more on the distinction between good and bad rather than ancient/modern?

Do we in Britain take enough risks when it comes to new Architecture?

These are just some of the questions our CEO Roger Mavity raised in a talk last week, organised by the London Chamber of Commerce, loosely based on the London skyline which appropriately took place right at the top of one of London’s most iconic landmarks – Tower Bridge, just around the corner from Conran HQ.

Click here to see a bite-size version of his talk.

Afterwards, Q&As from the floor raised some very interesting questions surrounding the legacy of the Olympic buildings, Supermarket design and whether our planning regulations help or hinder progress.

If you’d like to hear more about these the full talk and Q&As will be up here on youtube shortly.

Certainly food for thought.

Click back for more opinion on this point.

What do you think?


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Conran: Meeting up in style…

What better place to enjoy a cool glass of wine on one of the warmest, sunniest evenings of the year than the rooftop terrace of Terence Conran’s apartment.

And while you’re there why not have a nose around our building and find out a bit more about Conran?

That’s exactly what tempted 40 of the UK’s most eminent design bloggers to join us last night for the first of our blogger’s meet-up events, run in conjunction with our friends over at mydeco.com, the one-stop shop for all your design needs.

We thought it would also be a great opportunity for people to chat to our team and get the lowdown on each part of Conran, whilst having a little look around our studios.

While the team from The Conran Shop chatted to people about some of their hot new products for Spring Summer 2011, down in Studio Conran Bryony Akehurst and Katy Clarke talked the guests through the branding project they did for the healthy cake people Petit Pois and Product Designer Jared Mankelow demonstrated the design process behind our mobile phone which launched in Japan last year, sparking a very interesting discussion on the dying art of hand sketching as a useful exploratory phase at the beginning of the design process.

Interior Designer Jacqui Senior and Architect Nico Santarelli showed bloggers around our Architecture & Interiors floor, Conran & Partners talking about the breadth of interior design we have done all over the world and the massive new redevelopment project Conran & Partners have just completed in Tokyo (more next week…).

All very interesting stuff and lots of questions asked!

In Conran & Company project manager Holly-Anne Rolfe and textile designer Lâle Güralp gave the bloggers a quick tour around their office, showcasing some of the Conran branded product they help develop including brand new bedlinen designs from Bed by Conran and Conran Fine Bedlinen which are just about to hit the shops – books, colour and inspiration galore.

Plus much interest in the beautiful collection of prints of paintbrush collections which Terence bought as a book and framed years ago which have adorned the walls of the office since it was Terence’s a few years ago (he’s now just across the hallway).

There’s already been a few reports posted up there in the big, bold, blogosphere…

there’s one here at youmightlikethis.com – (thanks!)

Watch this space – we hope to have many more meet-ups in the future….enjoy the sun!



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Conran: Meet the team: Architect Simon Kincaid

Here’s the latest introduction to our team here at Conran…

Simon Kincaid is the first of our architects from Conran & Partners to be featured.

Thanks very much Simon!

What do you do at Conran?

I am an associate at Conran&Partners working on both Architectural and Interior Design projects.

What were you doing before you joined Conran?

Working in London since graduating in 2000.  I have spent time working with a leading branding and retail design consultancy as well as a top restaurant design specialist.  During this time I have designed and seen through to completion interior environments for both high-street and luxury brands.

What do you love about your job?

Applying creative ideas then seeing the end results being experienced and enjoyed by clients, customers or guests.  It is this satisfaction of seeing a design brief come to life, sometimes in short period of time, that gives me the most pleasure.

What do you like about working at Conran?

For me it is the diversity of design brief and opportunity to travel that I like so much about working at Conran.  For example I have been fortunate enough to work on Residences from Kuala Lumpur to Ibiza, Restaurants from Hong Kong to Hyderabad and Shops from Milan to New York.

Regent Residences, Kuala Lumpur

The Conran Shop, Rinascente, Milan

Park Hotel Hyderabad

What is your favourite project you have worked on at Conran&Partners?

I do have a soft spot for the Conran Shop project in New York as working for our sister company on a project located on Broadway with a tight programme and a real positive team made for a great experience.   However my favourite project is the Zen restaurant at the Park Hotel in Kolkata India.  We have been involved in the full refurbishment of this city centre Hotel and the Asian Fusion restaurant was one of the first areas to be constructed.  The design changed very little from our first proposals and the screens, lighting, finishes and open kitchen create a wonderful ambience which I am very proud of.

Park Hotel Kolkata

What are you interested in now?

I have an ongoing interest in the crossover between different project types; residential with hospitality or mixing retail and leisure.  This trend for blurring the line between these is becoming the norm:  high-end residences with room service, restaurants with guest rooms and environments where you’re not sure if it’s a café or shop are examples;  I’m thinking about what’s next………………

Find out more about these projects and more of our architectural and interior design work on the Conran & Partners website.

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Conran: Meet the team – Afshin Mehin, Product Designer, Studio Conran

Who are we all anyway?

In these posts you can find out a little more about us…

Lorraine Brennan, Head of Business Development for Conran & Company, was the last to be featured – now here’s one of our fabulous product designers from Studio Conran, Afshin Mehin...

What’s your role here at Conran?

I’m a Senior Product Designer in StudioConran.

What were you doing before you joined Conran?

I just recently moved back to London. I was working for the last 6 years in California, most recently at IDEO in San Francisco. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the optimism in California, but missed the critical design culture of London. I headed back to London last year, and was doing a bit of freelance work for studios like Barber Osgerby before joining StudioConran. It’s really great to be back!

Velocitek Sailing Speedometer, 2010

Where did you study?

Here in London, at the RCA. I studied industrial design but was interested in how electronic products could be designed in ways that could feel more sympathetic and delightful. So I did an internship at M.I.T.’s Media Lab in Dublin where I had a chance to explore this further. In California, this interest grew into a more commercial focus.

What do you love most about your job?

The opportunity to design objects that people will hold onto for a long time. People have the potential to invest personal meaning and value in objects over time and I am particularly interested in how technology products can move away from being throw away consumables to objects that people keep and love.

What are you interested in now?

My family is Iranian and I grew up in Canada though I’ve worked in the UK and the US. My cultural identity is complex and I am interested in how design can respond to this by merging and sculpting multiple aesthetics in ways that are both relevant to me and the products I design.

Vudu Remote Control, 2007

What’s the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

The most interesting project that I’ve worked on so far was the Olympic torch for the 2012 London Olympics. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on a product that will live on for years to come.

I’m also excited about the tactile audio speakers I’ve been designing as a way to have technological products integrate with daily life,  allowing them to become just as familiar as furniture.

Read more about Afshin’s work at Conran next week…

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