Monthly Archives: November 2010

Conran: The secrets of retail design

Nathan Zaver, Senior Designer from Conran & Partners lets us in on a few little secrets…

Last Thursday I gave a talk with Paul Zara about our retail work to the In-store Marketing Conference at the University of Westminster in Regent Street.

It’s London’s only seminar dedicated entirely to the shopper marketing and communications, so it was a good opportunity to show the work we’ve done for companies like GAP, Uniqlo and Barclays and our recent project for Coffee Republic.

As you can see in the ad below, we were unlocking ‘the secrets behind some of retailing’s most alluring in-store environments’. Read below to find out more…

A few of our secrets…..:

  • Be flexible! Listen to your client and understand their design and commercial needs
  • Good design can make you more money!
  • High Street retail design can be innovate and creative without costing the earth
  • We understand retail from a unique perspective as our group runs a retail business
  • A brand can change its value through design

Want to find out more about our experience in retail design?

Email Nathan on

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Conran: Watch how those winter windows were made….

If you haven’t managed to make it down to The Conran Shop Fulham Road yet to see their fabulous festive window display then get going!

All the white wooden Christmas trees that make up the magical forest are made by the The Hastings and Bexhill Wood Recycling Project from recycled palettes and are also for sale.

Read more about it here on The Conran Shop blog and for a taster watch the video showing how it all came together!

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Conran: Sketch by Terence to be auctioned for charity Shelter

Fifty two of the world’s leading artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Grayson Perry and our own Sir Terence Conran have been brought together to create an exclusive exhibition and online auction for the charity Shelter.

The show is called “52 weeks” and aims to highlight Britain’s housing crisis and comprises art work inspired by weeks of the year featuring original pieces of photography, street art, sculpture, graphic design and painting.

Terence was given “first dibs” on which week he would like to illustrate so he chose the first week of Spring and produced this charming sketch below, called “Summer’s Coming Soon”.

With the arctic winds blowing along Shad Thames this morning that felt like some kind of joke.

What isn’t a joke is the serious message behind the exhibition which aims to raise awareness of the thousands of families struggling to keep a roof over their head.

It follows on from the success of Shelter’s House of Cards exhibition in September 2009, which raised over £100,000 and also featured a sketch by Terence.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted that so many talented people from across the world have come together to support Shelter”

“It’s a shocking reality that as a result of our housing crisis any one of us could lose their home. This exhibition aims to shine a light on this and raise important funds for Shelter’s work to help whoever’s next.”

All artworks will be available to view and bid for online at with auctions closing next week.

In addition, the collection will be on display at 20 Hoxton Square Projects in London from Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 November.

Entrance to the excellent exhibition is free, and members of the public can also place silent bids on a selection of the artworks at the show.

With a feeling of one of Terence’s beautiful illustrations for the iconic Midwinter range this sketch is surely a collector’s item….so get bidding!

Read more about other ways in which CONRAN is supporting the homeless

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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: Terence honoured as a Royal Designer for Industry

We are delighted to announce that Terence has been honoured for his lifetime’s work in using good design to improve the quality of people’s lives:

He is among five of the UK’s best designers who will be recognised for their outstanding contribution to design and society by becoming Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at an award ceremony held at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) on Thursday 25 November.

Terence, and fellow award-winners Patrick Bellew, Peter Clegg, Edward Cullinan, and David Watkins will join a select group of designers who currently hold the RDI, regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK.

I am very proud to have been appointed a Royal Designer for Industry and that my lifetime in design has been acknowledged in this way. I have spent over fifty years in design, business and retail working to demonstrate the importance of intelligent design not just to the economy but also to the quality of people’s lives, which is why I am especially delighted to accept this award recognizing innovation and industry.

The distinction Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) was established by the RSA in 1936 to enhance the status of designers in industry and to encourage a high standard of industrial design.  It is given to practising designers who have shown sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society.

Only 200 designers are able to hold the distinction RDI at any one time, there are now 133 RDIs and 56 Honorary RDIs. Other members of the Faculty include Jonathan Ive, James Dyson, Vivienne Westwood, Thomas Heatherwick and Jasper Morrison.

Click back next week for pictures of the event

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Conran: Hotels of the Future / Part 2

Jane Lawrence, Interior Design Director at Conran & Partners concludes her report from her position as moderator on the debate:

Hotel 2025: Next generation design and technology – A look at the cutting edge design, technology and architecture that may find its way into your next hotel construction or renovation.

If you missed the first part read Conran: Hotels of the Future / Part 1

The idea of a hotel becoming a destination in itself rather than being seen as ‘just somewhere to sleep’ has been on the agenda for a while now with design being an important factor in the customers’ decision  making  process.

I have to cite Boundary as one such hotel that illustrates this point perfectly; here customers not only have the choice of one room style to satisfy their individual tastes, but 17.

Boundary – winner of Sleeper Magazine Hotel of the Year

Another example of this is the Park Hotel, Hyderabad, one of a number of hotels in India designed by us for the Park Hotels Group. Here our client followed the lead of the Puerta America Hotel, Madrid, involving a number of designers and architects and thereby achieving a collection of different styles and spaces. In Hyderabad we were sharing centre stage with the likes of SOM.

The watchword of the moment – sustainability – was of course mentioned and discussed with rather interesting consequences. From the hoteliers and operators feedback it seems that provenance rather than sustainability per se is foremost in customers’ expectations as people increasingly want to understand more about the origins of the food, wine and culture of the hotel and its environs.

As an aside from the conference I did get a chance to visit the Architectural Biennale.

Whilst the installations in some of the national pavilions were a little laboured a great many of the works exhibited within the old ship building workshops in the Arsenale were very inspiring, not least of all an exhibit by Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo architects ‘Cloudscape’ . Sadly the exhibition closes on the 21st November.

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Conran: Sleeping Rough for Centerpoint

Yesterday night a team of 4 from The Conran Shop braved the elements – sleeping outside as part of a nationwide event in aid of Centerpoint, the national youth homelessness charity.

All 4 are back in the office this morning looking surprisingly good after their night on the pavement.

As the nights start getting painfully cold it really makes you think about those who haven’t got somewhere warm to go home to.

If you would like to donate to this very worthy cause please visit Just Giving

Read more about the event and who took part on The Conran Shop blog

Read more about The Conran Shop supporting Centerpoint

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