Tag Archives: DESIGN

Conran: First Conran/M&S press hits our desks…and the catalogue is out!

There was great excitement in the office of Conran & Company this morning as we spotted the Ackroyd sofa from our ‘Conran exclusive design only at M&S collection’  on the front news page of September’s Living Etc.
Doesn’t it look great?
Shown here in our exclusive Orsett fabric in teal.
It’s available to buy with the rest of the preview collection of 70 products from Mid September…  
It’s all go in the Conran & Company studio. Designs for the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection are being sketched as we speak, reviews of the impending Spring/Summer 2012 collection (over 300 products!) are going on amidst packaging development (oh the copywriting!) and planning for next week’s phootshoot for the bedlinen -also available Spring 2012….so there’s a little while to wait, but we promise you it’s worth it…    
Conran/M&S certainly keeps us busy but we love it and, as Terence is quoted as saying in the article, ‘It’s an opportunity of a lifetime…’
What’s more the catalogue is now out so you can get a preview of these products. It’s available in M&S stores if you want to take a look – full collection will be online in the next few weeks…    


 *Watch out for our ‘Countdown to launch’ where, from the second week in September, each day we’ll be featuring one of our top ten favourite products from the new range – get your sneak preview and insider info here…


Filed under Conran & Company, Conran and M&S, TERENCE CONRAN

Conran: Crowdfunding: The future of design or an IP nightmare?

What is ‘Crowdfunding’?  How do you define ‘a crowd’? Is ‘Crowdfunding’ the future of design or a designer’s IP nightmare? Who really decides what we buy and what something looks like? Can a ‘crowd’ really design something beautiful?

Those are just some of the questions we discussed last night at the first in our new series of events – The CONRAN Future sessions – held up in Terence’s apartment. 

In this case our ‘crowd’ consisted of a variety of people from the ‘new’ and ‘old’ worlds of design – as they are sometimes broadly defined. In reality: people from digital agencies, crowdfunding platforms, ‘traditional’ design businesses, established designers, design writers and educators, corporate decision-makers, business leaders and recent graduates in design and innovation.

Nic Roope from POKE & Hulger, Alexander Grunsteidl from Method, journalist and photographer Barbara Chandler and our very own Daljit Singh were the panellists discussing this hot topic with the hugely knowledgable Nico Macdonald from Spy moderating. There were lots of interesting viewpoints and opinions…

Watch this space for video clips of the debate and more about what was discussed – if you’ve got any opinions on this topic feel free to drop us a line…

Next week: exclusive comment from Stephen Bayley on just this issue….

Massive thanks to Nico and the panellists and to Greta Corke from crowdfunding platform www.getitmade.com - who help lots of designers get their ideas made (not just a clever name…) 


Check out more abut this event here on conran.com and  on the getitmade.comblog – 

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Conran: Design a great 2011!

With Christmas just around the corner we thought we would tell you a little bit more about how our fabulous Conran Christmas card 2010 came into being.

Santi Tonsukha from Studio Conran explains…

First up was Brainstorming  – a truly collaborative process. Studio Conran staff – and a few others from around the Conran Group – spent an hour coming up with tons of ideas. Some are whimsical. Some are fun and exciting. Some are outrageous and over the top.

We then picked three that we thought could be achieved within the time frame and budget that we had.

The Pencil

The Conran world is a creative one. We thought the pencil is a great representation of who we are. Even with today’s technologies, pencil and paper are the starting tools for designers.

Also, in today’s economy, a gift that is not wasteful seems appropriate.

We started thinking about what kind of pencils we would like to give away. Coloured pencil? Round? Hexagonal? One thing we knew from the beginning is that we wanted to incorporate the Conran blue in some way. In the end we picked a blue one that was made of recycled CD cases.


We explored different materials and decided to use corrugated cardboard for packaging. What’s not to like about recycled corrugated cardboard? It’s lightweight. Protective. Affordable and Environmental-friendly.

The motif on the cardboard is inspired by grid paper that designers/architects often use. The plus shape also goes well with our positive message “Design a great 2011”

In short, we think it is a perfect little Christmas/New year gift from Conran that is thoughtful, fun, and reflects the company’s philosophy. We hope you agree….

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Filed under Conran & Company, Conran & Partners, STUDIO CONRAN, THE CONRAN SHOP

Conran: Endeavour to be better by design…

An excellent article by Lou Cooper in Marketing Week today talks about how brands are using design to set them apart from the competition.

In it our very own CEO Roger Mavity explains that design is not just about making things look good, but about adding value for consumers..

We try to design things in a way that radiates our basic belief that intelligent design improves quality of life. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s a well-designed store or building, it’s the fact that the design is intelligent, sensitive and creative. If that gives functionality to the user, then it’s good design, and that’s what we believe in

A prime example of that is our Boundary project in Shoreditch, designed by Conran & Partners - it’s a converted Victorian warehouse which houses three restaurants and bars, 12 hotel rooms and a bakery. As always our aim has been to make each project functional, yet exciting.

Albion Caff where cutlery sits in old syrup tins and the stools have old tractor seats

Boundary Restuarant where you can see the chefs at work and marvel at original artworks and objects from Terence's collections...


Boundary Project


Click to read the article in full

Like the cross-section image? Find out more about out our fabulous 3D visualisation team next week when they’ll be showing us more of what they can do…

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Filed under CEO Speaks: Roger Mavity, Conran & Partners, Conran and London, Conran and Restaurants

Conran: Terence on the future of design…

Here’s some very wise words for the future from Terence – taken from an article from The Telegraph this weekend.

It’s hard not to avoid the influence the economy is going to have on design in the next decade. It can be turned to our advantage in some senses but I don’t underestimate how tough it is going to be for the industry. I’ve lived through five or six recessions and while they’re not enjoyable they can make you pause and rethink your attitude to design. How can it continue to improve our lives? A bit of austerity won’t do it any harm. Things have become a bit lavish. We’ve seen this overblown, blingy approach to design, straining to project luxury, and it’s led to a glut of over-decorated pieces that look as if they came from a sweetshop.

Design is extremely important to the economy of this country and must remain so in the future. We are never going to be the workshop of the world again, we can’t compete in labour costs but we can compete in value for money and design can play a crucial role in that if we’re going to make things in this country again. The idea of living in a country that doesn’t produce anything is a dismal thought. We must inspire industry to make things by forging design and innovation, two things I believe go hand in hand, to allow us to make products the world wants.

Design itself can create demand. A designer’s job is to add to the quality of people’s lives and there’s still such a vast amount to do. I don’t think we’re anywhere near the point of creating a world where everything lasts for ever — far from it.


Click here to read the full article

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Conran: Out and About: The Museum of Everything and Tomoko Azumi

Occasionally we do manage to get out and stretch our legs a little…

Here’s Silas Swinstead from Conran Contracts on the opening night of Freize last week…

Despite a queue stretching around the corner onto Primrose Hill High Street, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see the latest incarnation of The Musuem of Everything.

A sensory feast of surreal taxidermy, folk music and art, circus style performance art and vintage photography… This is the 3rd exhibition by this mysterious collective and it’s opening party was a firm fixture in this years Freize calendar. Open for the next 3 months and not to be missed.

Also one to watch out for is ‘Objective’ at Rocket gallery – the first gallery exhibition of Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi.

Featuring work from 1995 to the present day, this small, well curated exhibition displays both finished work including Hexad tables, Table-Chest and Shingle chests, alongside scale and full size models, giving more information about Azumi’s working methods.

The exhibition also shows Azumi’s new Joint dining table, a collaboration with Rocket, Terence’s furniture factory Benchmark and Azumi.

On until the 20th November, this is worth a visit if you’re in the area.



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Conran: Brightly coloured collection for Autumn at The Conran Shop

The Conran Shop have just launched phase 2 of their vibrant and extremely well priced Well Considered collection.

Read more about the new products on The Conran Shop blog.

It is looking fabulous in its own Well Considered shop at the new-look store in Fulham Road. Go and see it now! We guarantee you won’t be able to walk away empty handed.

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Conran: Designers of the future at Designers Block

As London Design Festival 2010 blurs into a distant memory we are left once again revelling in how great London is when it comes to diversity, ideas, ingenuity and imagination.

Nowhere was this more in evidence than at Designers Block at the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf. This year’s festival may be done and dusted but this exhibition, traditionally a showground for younger, up-and-coming talent, proves there’s plenty to look forward to in the years ahead.

Holly-Anne Rolfe from Conran and Company spent a drizzly Friday morning wandering around this incredible space.

A large group of chairs sitting in the reception area greet you upon entry. Made by a group of nine designers in a wood in Herefordshire using only traditional greenwood techniques their sweeping and beautifully simple forms lit up the crumbling, industrial space.  I nicknamed this one ‘the monkey chair’.

The bench reminded me a bit of Jurgen Bey’s famous tree-trunk bench – minus the bark however, it looked a lot more comfortable!

I adored Naomi McIntosh’s necklaces; beautifully made sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling like chrysalises – definitely statement pieces that I have already started saving up for.

Charlotte Kingsnorth’s Hybreed chairs evolved from the concept of a relationship between a sofa and the voluptuous flesh of its occupier. In reality these are reclaimed chairs transformed into luscious, curvaceous forms. Firm to the touch, the pieces looked really comfortable even if I couldn’t quite get a picture of ‘the Blob’ attacking the Ercol factory out of my head.

As a dog lover put a pooch on anything sellable and you’ve got yourself a taker – and I loved the ‘Gerald the Dog’ kits from Lazerian – I’m just not sure I would have the patience nor the steady hand to make Gerald look quite as beautiful as the examples.

So many other designs and products of note; Puff & Flock’s ‘Make me up’ Wallpaper appealed – a ‘girl thing’ you might say but I enjoyed the interaction – always really important to me at these shows, and Jason Mark’s distorted ceramics pieces are surely investment pieces of the future.

I have to admit to being constantly diverted by the building itself; the colours, shapes and textures in the crumbling interior a great contrast to the diverse designs.


Filed under Conran & Company, Conran and London, London Design Festival 2010

Conran: High quality and made to last – true sustainability

Yesterday we came across this fabulous article by Joss Bailey who runs the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, about Terence’s input at Friday’s Earth Awards (click here to read our post about the awards)

We’re very glad she agrees with us about what makes something sustainable.

Here’s a taster:

It is very easy to level the accusation that the Conran empire, however well-principled, caters only to the upper middle classes. The people who eat in his restaurants and shop in his shops are those who can afford both sustainability and luxury: ironic for a business built on a personal philosophy of thrift. But then the issue of over-consumption, at least in our own country, went hand in hand with the exponential growth of the middle classes – the lower echelons aspiring upwards via the accumulation of stuff. Surely Conran’s model is a much better one to aspire to? His designs are high quality made to last: his customer is not the insatiable consumer, but someone who buys an armchair for life. His products are only expensive by comparison, their price tags just reflect the true value of things (if not outsourced to a sweatshop).

Read the full article on her blog

The Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group is an interest group of MPs and peers that exists to keep the cause of good design on the Parliamentary agenda. We are all in support of that.

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Conran: Classic design under the hammer

Last night 10 classic design pieces went under the hammer at The Conran Shop in Fulham Road, Chelsea in aid of Centrepoint charity

Fresh from talking about sustainability at the Earth Awards (more about that next week…) Terence took to the stage to talk about why you should invest in classic design like those in the new Conran Classic range.

60s icon Sandy Shaw, a big supporter of Centrepoint, also gave a talk on the good works the charity does and did a great job of pushing up those bids for classic pieces including the Eames Lounge chair and Ron Arad’s bookworm shelf.

Read more about it on The Conran Shop Blog

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Filed under Conran and London, TERENCE CONRAN, THE CONRAN SHOP