Tag Archives: TERENCE CONRAN

An all-new Conran Shop

Last night we headed west to Michelin House, to check out The Conran Shop’s new Flagship Collection.

The whole Chelsea store has been redesigned around room sets, painstakingly put together by the Shop’s stylists and interior designers – and stuffed full of new products. It’s great for giving you a sense of how to put pieces together in your own home.

Here are a few snaps from last night – including the gardening area with resident plant potter (the friendliest man in West London)!

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Well done to everyone in Chelsea for a great makeover and a great launch party. Head over to the Shop to check it out for yourself – and don’t miss the adorable spring window displays…

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Getting Real

Last week, we talked about our support for Michelle Ogundehin’s Equal Rights For Design campaign. The cause is gaining momentum, with James Dyson and Mary Portas – as well as our very own Terence Conran – showing their support.

The Conran Shop – a long-time advocate of better protection for British designs – decided actions speak louder than words, and set about bringing the campaign to life over at their Marylebone store. Michelle and the Conran team spent last week cathartically tearing up cheap fakes of classic designs (one of which broke before it even arrived at the store).

Michelle Ogundehin, showing us just what she thinks of design fakes

You can see the difference for yourself by heading over to the Marylebone store and checking out the Get Real window displays.

The Get Real window displays at The Conran Shop, Marylebone

The campaign stepped up another notch last night, with a bloggers’ event in Marylebone. There was a great turnout, and a palpable sense that it’s about time someone raised the issue.

The Get Real event at The Conran Shop last night

We heard a broad range of opinions on the campaign. Several attendees noted that, whilst they believe in the protection of design classics, the line between taking inspiration and ripping off isn’t an easy one to draw. Design is ultimately about selling product, and in a free market, fakes will always propagate.

It’s certainly true that design is more overtly commercial than other artistic disciplines; the closest parallel is probably fashion. But in fashion, as Michelle noted in her Times interview, there is a greater sense of shame in buying fakes – and most people know how to spot them. That’s less true in the design world. Many consumers would feel duped if they found out their Eames chair was a fake – just as they would if their Mulberry handbag turned out to be.

In fact, the issue is even more acute in the design world. A fashion fake may serve its purpose if it lasts a season, but with knock-off furniture – cheaply made and hastily thrown together – this lack of longevity is more problematic. Design classics are all but indestructible, and hold their value as the years rack up. Fakes may be cheaper – but they are seldom better value.

That’s why we’re pushing Get Real. So, head on over to Marylebone High Street, and find out how you can stay savvy.

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Patriotism and British design

Patriotism is well and truly back in vogue. It started with a murmur last year – the Royal wedding and a brief flutter of flags kickstarted Southbank’s reprisal of the 1951 Festival of Britain; a neat row of bright pastel sheds and a crescent of sand brought the charm of the British seaside resort to the Thames.

That murmur has amplified into an almightily scream of Union Jack cushions, Tube Map teatowels and ‘Keep Calm’ posters. This ‘sentiment’ trend – a nostalgia for the Britain of yore – will wax at least until the Royal Jubilee and the London Olympics are long in the memory, and perhaps until our economy gets onto a firmer footing (there is comfort in nostalgia, after all).

The currency of British iconography has never been stronger, but this is a superficial patriotism. What about modern British design – objects beautiful in form and function, designed in Britain?

At Conran, we’re passionate about it. Few could knock Britain’s design heritage – from William Morris to James Dyson, British designers have always been a force to be reckoned with. But we’re also passionate about our design future – giving British designers the chance to thrive.

One thing we could do to secure that future is better-protect our designers. ELLE Decoration UK has launched an e-petition to reform copyright protection for designers.

As things stand, works of literature, drama, music and film are protected for 70 years from the death of creator, whereas designs are only protected for 25 years from their date of invention. Michelle Ogundehin, Editor in Chief of ELLE Decoration UK and V&A Trustee, argues that this disparity harms the profitability of designing in Britain – and fosters a market for cheap fakes of classic designs.

The Conran Shop has already thrown its weight behind the ‘Fight the Fakes’ campaign, currently blowing up across the web. So too has Terence Conran, who teamed up with Michelle for a Times feature on the initiative (sadly paywalled). Terence noted that the fakes industry has “grown hugely” in the past decade, and implored the Government to look after Britain’s young designers.

The Times interview

Our Chancellor envisages “a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers”. In that light, isn’t it time we start championing not just the design classics of the past, but also those of the future?

Let us know what you think, and check out ELLE Decoration UK’s Equal Rights For Design Facebook campaign.

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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…

EAST SIDE STORY –

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 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/81aefc64-5310-11e1-950d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1muZ0OBtg

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When Terence met Claudia: BBC Radio 2 Arts Show interview – the Festival of Britain, soup, the UK’s reputation for design and an ‘Ode to tools’….

Make sure you catch Terence’s lovely interview on the Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman – available on BBC i-Player until this Friday 13th.

It’s a really charming interview: hear the great man talking about how it all began at the Festival of Britain (“people in Macintoshes suddenly seeing a bit of colour”); the embryonic entrepreneur (“sitting around with a friend drinking cider and talking about ways to make money”); setting up his first restaurant – the Soup Kitchen (“a giant vat of soup, sold at a shilling a bowl”); his favourite aspects of habitat (“the buying meetings…tremendously exciting!”); his ode to tools; passion for UK design and manufacture and what he’s most proud of today and through his long and varied career. There really is so much he could choose from….

A young Terence Conran...

Don’t miss it. Click here to listen.

He’s on from 0: 15: 30 to 0: 35: 25 – with a bit of nice music halfway through…

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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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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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The Man Who Transformed The Way We Live

Wandering around London it’s not often you see your boss’s name in lights – unless, that is, you happen to work for the man credited for changing the way we live. 

Last night Terence’s exhibition -  The Way We Live Now – opened at The Design Museum – and what a treat we had in store.

From the beauty, variety, inginuity and workmanship of the pieces themselves to the quirky, exclusive typography (done by our very own Conran Studio) and show design (ref: Conran & Partners Interior Design team) the show is a triumph. Well, we would say that wouldn’t we?! But don’t just take our word for it – it’s already got some rave reviews:

Check out Terence talking to Mark Lawson on Radio 4’s Front Row – listen here on iPlayer

A wonderful video here from The Guardian about Terence transforming Britain’s High Streets…

Here from The Express – The Man Who Transformed The Way We Live

..and that really is just for starters…more in the next couple of days – very exciting!

 Go and see for yourselves! – it’s on until 4th March 2012. Details here.

Even the room's turned Conran Blue...

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Pioneering a sophisticated, civilised lifestyle

This weekend’s Culture Show on BBC2 saw Alan Yentob sharing a sofa with Terence and discussing transforming Britain in the ’50s,  pioneering a sophisticated, civilised lifestyle and his being the man who enticed an entire generation into understanding design.

Especially worth it for the colour footage of the Festival of Britain and Yentob’s green screen moments cunningly enabling him to stumble across a covorting ’60s couple enjoying Terence’s newly retailing duvet and hanging out cross-legged on a lounge-lizard style sofa – pages literally straight out of the original habitat catalogue. 

Watch it here on BBC iPlayer from 37.00 – 44.40

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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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