Monthly Archives: January 2012

Conran’s hidden house…

Our architects Conran and Partners have just been granted planning permission for their ‘hidden house’ in Brighton!

The development consists of three new houses in all, a ‘hidden house’ and two 4 bedroom homes. The site is in the most prestigious Roedean area and will be the most environmentally friendly homes in that part of the city. 

The ‘hidden house’ to the north of the site is an L shaped home which is partly built into the ground with a banked garden that lowers into a south facing terrace. The house is designed to make maximum use light and includes an open plan living area on the ground floor andbedrooms and bathrooms to the 1st floor.

The House will be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5,’Translated… a very environmentally friendly dwelling’.

If you want to know more about our ‘hidden house’ please contact Paul Zara and Nathan Zaver in the Brighton Studio…
Click here to email Conran & Partners

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Disegno Salon

Tuesday evening saw the second of the Disegno Salon events –  at Sunbury Workshops in East London hosted by founder and editor-in-chief of recently launched architecture, design and fashion magazine and website, Johanna Agerman-Ross. Launched in December, Disegno aims to encourage debate and acknowledge interplay and cross-pollination between these disciplines, with regularly updated articles and debates on the website, and a bi-annual publication featuring interviews, opinion and discussion on key events and design.

Sunbury Workshops are located in listed buildings in Shoredith – over the years the spaces have functioned as workshops for many types of craftspeople, and are now host to a variety of independent makers and designers.

The evening consisted of a tour of the working spaces by designers from a variety of disciplines – from graphic design and illustration, product and furniture designers, silversmiths and shoe makers – offering a unique insight in to the working practices of these creatives, as well as opportunities to discuss the challenges of making working as a self employed designer feasible, small scale production and the opportunities for manufacturing in the surrounding area alongside a host of other topics.

Jon Harrison discusses the work of Faudet-Harrison

Jon Harrison discusses the work of Faudet-Harrison

The first studio was a shared space with furniture and Product designers Faudet-Harrison (Jochem Faudet and Jon Harrison) and Simon Denzel. Faudet-Harrison showed furniture from the recent installation at Tracy Neuls Redchurch showroom, and spoke about their design process for this project, drawing inspiration from found objects, appropriation and happy accidents. Simon Denzel showed two concepts that he is currently working on, and talked about the manufacturing network in East London.

Tracey Neuls showroom by Faudet-Harrison

Next up was the shared studio of designers Simon Hasan, Rodrigo Solorzano and Henny van Nistleroy. Hasan and Solorzano showed work in progress, both currently working on projects that are a direct route of their RCA graduation projects – Hasan working with boiled leather, which has led to collaborations with Fendi and Solorzano discussing and showing developments of playful and creative toys.

Simon Hasan chair at Libby Sellers

Then it was on to the third studio (including small workshop space with homemade CNC)– home to product and furniture designers Alex Hulme and Felix de Pass, and graphic designer Marine Duroselle. Here, the designers discussed their working practices- how a shared studio space can aid creative thinking and discourse, and showed examples of their work – from beautifully crafted books by Marine, through to product development and manufacturing and batch production pieces.

Silversmiths Tomasz Donocik, Tina Lilienthal and Emma Madden, all with very different styles, share a studio space, a fascinating chance to see a traditionally set up jewellery workshop, with cut out workbenches with aprons.

Workbench set up at the silversmiths studio

Workbench set up at the silversmiths studio

The last stop was the studio of shoe designer Sebastian Tarek, and illustrator Clara Lacy. Sebastian talked about the process of making bespoke shoes, the decline in traditional skills for certain processes, and showed examples of his work. The graphic design for his brand was created by studio mate Clara Lacy, who talked about her practice and showed examples of her beautifully detailed illustrations.

Sebastian Tarek's beautiful bespoke footwear

Sebastian Tarek's beautiful bespoke footwear

Sebastian Tarek’s beautiful handmade shoes

Then, of course, chance to share a drink and have discussion with the designers and attendees! Disegno are planning regular Salon events, next month sees the launch of the magazine at the Stockholm furniture fair, and the March Salon will be a film screening of Gary Hustwit’s Urbanized. For more details of these and upcoming events, go to

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Daljit Singh on Conran Singh, Interaction Design and getting rid of ‘buzz words’…

Last year saw the launch of our digital agency Conran Singh.

Headed up by its eponymous director Daljit Singh, a luminary in the field of interaction design, they have  already completed exiting new projects for Your Square Mile and luxury mobile phone brand Vertu.

But what’s he all about? And what’s the future for digital? Last week  the team over at Creative Social decided to find out a bit more about him…

Terence and Daljit

CS: How did you get to where you are today?

Daljit: I studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating in 1991, I went to work for IBM as an Interaction Designer. Two years into the IBM job I decided that actually the next thing to do would be to set up my own business, and that was when Digit was born. From its inception, Digit grew to about twenty people in the first five years. We were in Soho to start with, and then after Soho we moved into East London and were one of the first companies in Hoxton Square. In 2005 we sold and became part of WPP, so in total I ran Digit for about fifteen years. I left in March 2010 and thats when I started Conran Singh.

CS: Why was Conran Singh created?

Daljit: The Conran Group is run by  Terence Conran, they’ve been around for almost two decades and the businesses include the Conran Shops and the Conran restaurants, of which there are about thirty around the world. There is also a publishing arm to the business, called Conran Octopus, and then there are the actual design studios which are based just behind the design museum. Within those businesses there are Conran and Partners, which is an architecture and interior design business with about sixty people in the practice doing jobs all around the world. There’s Conran Studio which is product design and branding. There is also Conran and Company, which is involved with product developing and licensing. The one thing which they have never had was a digital division. I started speaking to them and they asked if I would be interested, and here I am a year on. It seemed like the right thing to do and quite an opportunity, so I guess that’s the straightforward reason for it being born.

CS: What work have you been involved with that you are most proud of?

Daljit: Throughout my career there have been lots of things. I suppose some of the highlights have been in the Digit years. The stuff that I have always been very passionate about is  R&D. I think Digit was one of the very first companies to really invest in doing research and development. We developed lots of our own projects, non-commercially, which ranged from looking deeply at interactive design and seeing what you can do with interaction on screen, and then physical interaction, which lead to some really interesting commercial projects. We did the redesign of the Habitat site many years ago which at the time was very groundbreaking. In more recent times, some of the physically interactive work that we did for Motorola has been really interesting. There’s also a project for the National Gallery which we did in collaboration with The Partners, it won a Black Pencil at the D&AD awards, I am very proud of that.

The National Gallery Grand Tour project

I think now, being with Conran, I am really looking forward to applying a kind of design sensibility back into what interactivity really means. There are a number of very interesting things we are doing at the moment, none of which I can talk about. Its fascinating because it is maneuvering away from straightforward marketing and advertising, into the realm of actual design and solving problems, and that is very exciting in terms of what the future holds. More importantly, I think our clients are very interested in that kind of attitude, they need it for their business.

CS: What major changes, in your opinion, can we expect to see in the Digital Communications industry in the next ten years?

Daljit: That’s a big question. I think the multi-platform world will become less multi-platform. We will be doing much more than we already are on the move, as opposed to being tethered somewhere. I think there will be a significant change in our notion of entertainment and the way that we view it. Look at television and you can see this is already happening. Up until now it has always been in the corner of your living room, this is fundamentally changing. I think our engagement with information will become simpler because we will get rid of all of the noise that is in the market place at the moment. I also think that strong, creative ideas will have to become more prevalent and more important to cut-through, because I think that brand and business can only survive where they have a very strong notion of what they’re trying to say and what they are trying to talk about, and actually the technology will need to become better designed. Apart from looking in a crystal ball I don’t think I can do anymore than that!

Read the full interview with Daljit here on Creative Social including the buzz words Daljit would like to erase forever and what he thinks is the biggest challenge for the advertising industry at the moment.

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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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