Monthly Archives: July 2011

Conran: Windows onto the world…

Conran & Partners have yet again taken over the reception windows of HQ in Shad Thames showcasing a mix of project images – some current and some of our old favourites..
Today’s focus: Japan; here’s the first few from over the other side of the world…

Futako Tamagawa, Tokyo 

As master planners and architects of this exciting project we are pleased to say that currently Futako Tamagawa is Tokyo’s single largest development on site! Phase one provides a total of 400,000m² of retail, office, leisure and residential buildings – about half the size of Canary Wharf. Phase two is currently under design development – we’ll tell more when we can….

Niki Club East, Nasu 

We were architects & interior designers for the third phase of Niki Club hotel located in Nasu, a wooded mountain region 2-hours from Tokyo.  The project included a 2-storey main building comprising lobby, restaurant, spa and meeting room, and 24 timber-clad bedroom pavilions clustered around an informal central court in a woodland clearing. 

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Conran: Our Brighton ‘Pin Up’

As the saying goes: It’s good to talk. Jamie Campbell from Conran & Partner’s Brighton office gives us an insight into some valuable ‘time out’ from the computer screen which is paying off in spades…

For the last couple of months the Brighton Office of Conran and Partners have been getting together once every few weeks to share expertise and present the projects that their teams have been working on.  We’re calling it ‘pin up’. It’s really an informal approach to presenting and discussing projects. The aim is to share expertise across the team and enrich the different projects presented. The discussions often lead to interesting avenues of thought or the discovery of exciting precedents that inform the project. 

There are usually 14 people, including interior designers, architects, directors, Part 1’s and 2’s. The mix of experience and enthusiasm really shines through when we all get together and the informal approach makes for a relaxed atmosphere.

Usually we are all busy getting on with our different projects but it’s really important that once a month we get together to sit and chat about the work we are doing. We are a studio not an office after all! And it’s a good way of showing the work we are all doing has a bigger place in the greater scheme of the office and of Conran as a whole. 

It’s easy to get buried under piles of paperwork and waylaid by an inbox stacking up with unread emails but once in a while things like this prove the best thing to do is sit down (maybe even with a nice cup of tea) and have a good chinwag. 

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Conran: Azhar on Architecture: My favourite place

Villa Almerico-Capra “La Rotonda”, Vicenza (1565-1591)

By Andrea Palladio completed by Vincenffarzo Scamozzi. 

I started my architectural training at the Bartlett School of the Built Environment, UCL in the mid 1980s, where we were taken on our first year trip to the medieval university city of Padua. We spent a week there exploring the city and more importantly being exposed to the wonder and evolution of the renaissance period. 

For me, the most memorable part of the trip to Padua was seeing the Villa Almerico-Capra, Continue reading


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Conran: Who knew SALE signs could be so chic?

Studio Conran have just designed some fab new in-store graphics for The Conran Shop sale….no horrible standard SALE signs for us….

Graphic Designer Orla McAvinue explains…


What was the inspiration behind the designs?
The inspiration for the campaign takes cues from Russian Constructivism. Our aim was to create an eye-catching, bold campaign for the stores that would really stand out, be owned by Conran, and differentiate the in store experience from our competitors. From a practical point of view, Continue reading

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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 – who help lots of designers get their ideas made (not just a clever name…) 


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

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Conran: The Magpie app lands…

The new Conran app is here!

MAGPIE is just like it’s namesake – picking up and collecting lots of interesting things which, in this case, can be stored and used for inspiration – wherever, whenever – helping you to create virtual moodboards and scrapbooks.

Read more about Magpie and how to get it here.

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Conran likes….Richard Weston

Today’s favourite thing spied in the Conran & Company office are these amazing prints by – of all things – a geological professor, Prof. Richard Weston.

Our textile designer Lale Guralp is particularly taken with them..

It’s such a simple concept – scanning a natural object – but the beauty and patterns revealed are astonishing…a whole world of beauty!

As seen on the BBCs ‘Best of British’ – right up our street.

Read all about him and his work here

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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 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: Terence and the PM

Just to add to Friday’s post about Terence’s generous gift to the Design Museum – some pics of him and David Cameron at Downing Street discussing the donation and future plans for the museum.

What a nice day for it! There’s a lovely report from Terence here

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Conran: Terence’s gift to the future of design…

There’s been a lot of news this week surrounding Terence’s generous gift to the Design Museum: £17.5m worth of funding for the future to help it move from its much loved but cramped location here on the Thames to the Commonwealth Institute in west London.

Terence met the PM at Downing Street on Wednesday in recognition of this major act of philanthropy.

Deyan Sudjic, director of the museum, said Continue reading

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