Monthly Archives: June 2010

Conran’s first mobile phone launches in Japan

We’ve been working with Japan’s leading mobile phone operator NTT DOCOMO and manufacturer LG to develop an exciting Conran-branded lifestyle mobile phone, the L-04B. It’s available in Japan from this week and we’re really pleased to say that the phone has received loads of great press coverage and is busy buzzing around the techno-blogs. (see below)

The ergonomic, candy-bar shaped phone, designed by Studio Conran, is characterised by a 176-degree angle which echoes the natural contour of the human face, sitting gracefully and gently in the hand and wrapping perfectly around the face when making calls. Its subtle angle also means it sits really comfortably in your pocket.

It’s deliberately thin, measuring just 11mm and is radically different from the flip phones most often seen in Japan. We’ve added soft touch finishes and contoured keypad buttons which provide a subtle tactility. The rear surface is clean and seamless – free from any unnecessary detailing.

Japan is arguably the most technologically advanced mobile phone market in the world and the Conran phone is positioned as a lifestyle phone aimed at 20-40 year old design conscious men and women.

It’s the latest in NTT DOCOMO’s series of lifestyle mobile phone design collaborations with top designers worldwide, which in the past included Alessi designer Stefano Giovannoni, French macaroon king Pierre Herme and Japanese art director Kashiwa Sato.

Hugo Eccles the Creative and Managing Director of Studio Conran had this to say:

“This phone, with its uniquely elegant and understated form, was developed from scratch by our designers in collaboration with the NTT DOCOMO and LG technical teams. The result is a phone that has everything you need, but remains intuitively simple to use. We believe it’s exactly what design conscious Japanese consumers are looking for in a phone.”

NTT DOCOMO’s Product Department seem pleased too:

“In Conran, we’ve found a design partner and name linked to a phone that is synonymous with everything that is timeless and thoroughly contemporary in both design and function – exactly what we were trying to achieve in releasing our first candy-bar handset in two years.”

We are really pleased that in a market characterised by all-singing, all-dancing technological wizardry, the Conran phone’s design strips back the bells and whistles to create a sleek object of desire that doesn’t compromise on the functionality of those things phones were actually invented to do.

Studio Conran also designed a range of screens named after London areas and menus in a monochromatic palette named Dawn and Dusk for the pale and black faces respectively.

The phone is available in three colours chosen to appeal to Japanese consumer sensibilities: sleek gender-neutral black and red bodies with black faces through to a more feminine brown body with a pale face.

Jill Webb, Brand Development Director from Conran & Company says:

“This is a great opportunity to strengthen the already popular CONRAN brand in Japan within a very exciting product category.

It’s been a privilege working with such a prestigious partner and we are all really pleased with the product”

TV commercials will be run by LG in Japan to support the launch later this summer.

Here we are in The  Sunday Telegraph Business section

Conran _SundayTelegraph_NTTDocomo_13Jun10

and here’s some other links

There’s also this, on youtube


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Conran and Partners: Groveside in The Sunday Times

Groveside: The perfect family home.

We received some great press on Groveside this weekend from the Sunday Times Home supplement.


Many people know us for our larger scale programmes like Sheffield Tower, Futako Tamagawa and Martinhal Resort, but Groveside is the first of our privately commissioned residences to go to market. It’s a highly environmentally responsible, contemporary, family home in the grounds of a former school at Herons Ghyll in Sussex.

Thanks to Oliver Bennett for such a glowing review!

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Conran: New Benchmark Furniture launched at Terence Conran’s house in the country…

Benchmark Furniture launched a new range of twenty pieces of furniture designed by Terence Conran and the Benchmark team to the press this week.

Twenty five journalists came down from London to the Benchmark showroom and workshop at Kintbury in Berkshire on a perfect summer’s day to see the new products.

Lunch was served in a marquee in the vegetable garden and was made by the Benchmark canteen chef and sourced locally; crayfish and trout from the Kennet River, vegetables and strawberries from the garden and elderflower cordial made by Terence’s stepdaughter Hattie.

Tea with cakes and scones made by Terence’s wife Vicki was provided on the terrace in front of the house later on should anyone still have been hungry.

Terence was pleased that on the way back to London on the bus no volcanic clouds had intervened. In his words:

“It’s a lot easier than visiting the shows in Milan and a further demonstration that the UK can still make world class furniture at a reasonable price”

Here here.

The press have already started writing about it

David Nicholls in The Telegraph

The new Benchmark catalogue showing the new range was designed by Studio Conran.

Sarah O’Keefe, a graphic designer from Studio Conran who worked on the brochure was in attendance too

“After working with Benchmark over the last few months on their beautiful new brochure, it was lovely to spend a summer afternoon with them in the countryside eating delicious, locally sourced food upon a 11 metre length of oak. Benchmark have a true passion for craftsmanship and design, and their pride in what they do was very evident as they toured us around their workshops. If you ever find yourself in Kintbury, I would recommend dropping into their showroom to be inspired by the wonderful furniture they produce.”

Write to for a copy of the catalogue or look at the website

Benchmark –  Kintbury  –  Hungerford  –  Berkshire  –  RG17 9SA

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CEO Speaks: Roger Mavity talks about The Budget on BBC Radio 5

22 June, Roger Mavity

Off to the Beeb to do a post-mortem on Radio 5 Live on George Osborne’s first budget. Interviewed by the brilliant, and rather gorgeous, Victoria Derbyshire and the equally brilliant, though arguably slightly less gorgeous, Nick Cosgrove.

In the event, it seemed to me that Boy George had made a good fist of an almost impossible situation. The truth is we’ll only know over years, not minutes, if he has made the right decisions.

The real highlight was not the budget itself, but the BBC hospitality: I was kindly given a lunch which consisted of a glass of water and a Kit-Kat. So no wasteful use of the licence fee there. When I grumbled to my wife about it she said, “At least it was a four-finger Kit-Kat; after the budget cuts they’ll be down to two-finger Kit-Kats.”

Here’s the programme.

Roger is on from 4: 06: 32

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Conran and Partners are recruiting!

Two new positions are currently available within our excellent Architecture & Interiors practice, Conran & Partners.

If you’re a junior 3d modeller and visualiser or an organised and efficient team secretary or assistant looking for your next challenge as part of a friendly and creative team this could be for you.

Check out the website for more details

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Conran CEO speaks: Roger Mavity. Great Minds think alike

I had a strange sense of déjà vu (or should that be déjà lu?) when I read Baroness Kingsmill’s recent article in Management Today.  She was exploring the idea that when a Finance Director gets promoted to Chief Executive it rarely turns out to be the success that everyone hoped for.  She cites Gordon Brown’s ascent from Chancellor to a disastrous Prime Ministership as a vivid example of this concept.

Nothing wrong in that you might think.  Except that I wrote an article in The Times last October saying almost the exact same thing.  Indeed it began ‘one of the classic mistakes in business is to promote the Finance Director to Chief Executive’.  I went on to quote the promotion of Gordon Brown from Chancellor to PM to demonstrate the point.

Of course I’m not suggesting that the redoubtable Baroness might have been prompted to write her article by reading mine.  Clearly not a case of ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’; more a case of ‘great minds think alike’.

Baroness Kingsmill in Management Today

Roger Mavity’s article in The Times

Finance & Management magazine liked the article so much they asked to reprint it this month…


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News of the World

A word from our communications czar Mat Riches on Conran stories from around the world;

We’ve had some great press coming in from overseas in the last couple of weeks, promoting our activities in key markets. First of all we had a profile in the Greek magazine, “Euzhn”, a publication priding itself on being a global experience of good taste. Euzhn actually translates as “Easy Living” in Greek, and anyone who has spent any time with Terence will tell you that it is a philosophy very close to his heart.

Click here to see the article – Euzhn 

Of course Conran & Partners have worked in Greece recently, on 180 Pireos – a vibrant new retail centre on Athen’s Pireos Street between the Acropolis and the ancient Port.

In the United Arab Emirates, the excellent journalist and stylist Manisha Harkins spoke to our own Jill Webb and Tris Keech for an article in the National – the largest English speaking newspaper in the region. Manisha was writing a piece called “From High Design to High Street” and discussing how affordable design is reaching the shops faster than ever, another philosophy close to our hearts.

Click here for the article – High Design To High Street

And finally, to coincide with the launch of The Conran Shop in the ABC store in Manhattan, Terence spoke to Dwell magazine, the biggest and best lifestyle publication in the US. We were delighted to be in there and Terence’s interview went very well. I also rather like his portrait shot, taken by one of our favourite snappers, London-born Paul Wetherell.

Check the article out here: Dwell

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Conran & Partners doing their bit to save the planet

Lee Davies, Associate Director at Conran & Partners, who heads up their Brighton office is very excited about C&P signing up for the 10:10 campaign, the biggest collective effort yet to tackle climate change in the UK –

What is 10:10?

Here’s his explanation…

It’s simple. We all cut our carbon by 10% this year. You, me, us as an office, the man on the Clapham omnibus……. everyone.

Cutting 10% in one year is a bold target, but for most of us it’s an achievable one, and is in line with what scientists say we need over the next 18 months.

Whether you want to help tackle climate change or just get your bills down to size, we all know that cutting our carbon footprint makes sense. Even so, it can be hard to know where to start, and what actions will really make a difference. What’s needed is something straightforward, immediate and meaningful: the 10:10 campaign in my opinion is it!

  • 10:10 unites individuals and organisations around one goal: cutting our emissions by 10% in 2010.
  • Thousands are already on board
  • It’s immediate, it’s simple, it’s meaningful
  • We’re a part of it, and you should be too
  • You can find out more and sign up on the website:

The success of 10:10 depends on getting everyone involved in making it happen, and the 10:10 website has all the tools you need to spread the word far and wide. By combining our individual efforts under one banner, 10:10 enables all of us to make a meaningful difference. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out what’s possible.

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Terence responds to Booty on Brands and shares his love affair with Monsieur Bibendum


Dear Booty Brand,

 In my opinion  Monsieur Bibendum, Michelin’s brand, is the best brand ever.  Entirely flexible and full of humour, it always looks up to date and has done over the last century. Monsieur Bibendum has always held an emotional meaning for me.  Whilst on Brands, perhaps this is the moment to express my disappointment that after working literally night and day for over a week to produce a Brand for London and finally reaching the last two, silence descended on the Mayor’s Office.  Boris silent? A small leak  indicated that we were the chosen design but nothing more – desperately unfair to the hardworking candle burning designers who were so excited about the project and as for the management, totally bemused by the lack of professionalism in the Mayor’s Office.


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Conran: a visit from The Fins…

Mikael Silvanto, a young designer from Finland, recently came into our offices to meet some of the studio conran team among others. We just love his work so we thought we would ask him for a short piece about what he was doing here…

The radio has just got be everyone’s favourite.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Roger Mavity, the CEO of Conran, and his team at their London HQ. It’s always a pleasure to meet charismatic people, but it’s double the challenge if the man in question wrote a book about making an impression. A great book I might add, called Life’s a Pitch.

Roger quite recently visited Finland as a keynote speaker and gave a 45 minute earful, of the most interesting and convincing kind. The sort of beautifully balanced show, that takes an English gentleman of experience and intellect, years of experience and superb real-life stories to deliver. I confess on buying the book the same evening and even reading it within the next few days.


At the same event, there were 20 selected Finnish companies from the creative industries. We were given the opportunity to make a 4 minute pitch each – with a few more years of experience, perhaps I will get my own 45minutes! Instead of raving about the greatness of my company, I showed a series of weird images of what makes Finland uniquely democratic, bland, yet creative. This was followed by quick images of a few projects we’ve done at aivan! ltd.


I think Roger rather liked my presentation, odd sense of humor, a radio I’ve designed, or a combination of all three, as he invited me to come and visit Conran HQ.


Thanks Roger and welcome back to Finland anytime!


And here’s the radio in question, and to compliment it, the view from my office in february.

Here’s more about Mikael at

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