Category Archives: Conran and London

Graphic art galore at Somerset House

Thank goodness for London’s late night openings. If it wasn’t for them we’re sure half the working population would be forever devoid of culture and community, starved of inspiration as the weekends become saturated, sacrificed to the gods of laundry, grocery shopping and petty squabbling over DIY.

Great news for the team from Conran that kept missing the now annual graphic arts and illustration fair, Pick Me Up, at Somerset House when we managed to get down there for the late night opening (until 10pm!) yesterday night.

Inspiration and creativity with the added bonus of a beer at the end of a sunny but busy Thursday in the spectacular courtyard surroundings of Somerset House, the new installation of ceramic flowers Out of Sync by by Fernando Casasempere spread out before us.

A particular favourite of the team was this wonderful, almost life size Bear by Sarah Maycock., generous sweepings of washed colour and beautiful economy of line.


Others were David Sparshott’s illustrations, particularly the bicycles and these teapots executed simply using graphite and coloured pencil. It was great to see screen-printing in action at Print Club London  with a wide variety of prints on sale. 

We also loved the satisfyingly intricate letters from Yuko Michishita


It’s on until 1st April, leave the laundry on hold and get down there while you can.


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Last chance to see Conran’s fab four…

If you haven’t yet visited the Terence Conran exhibition at the Design Museum yet what have you been waiting for?

The great news is the exhibition which was due to finish this coming week has now been extended, by popular demand, until the 12th April.

However it is your last chance to see our fab foursome – a selection of bestselling Conran-designed chairs for M&S outside in the Design Museum tank.

Specially upholstered for the exhibition in our trademark Conran Blue and accessorised with Conran for M&S vases and Terence’s books this little capsule display is quite the essence of Conran. And what a location.

It’s your last chance to check them out this weekend. Stroll along the South Bank and take a look…

Read more about the exhibition here in The Telegraph 

Some of our previous blog posts…

Click here to watch a video on The Guardian’s website about how Terence changed the face of the British High Street

Or check out Terence talking to Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic below

Terence talks to Deyan Sudjic

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Conran at the HOME show: Who has the Best Stand, the Best New Product and the Best British product?

The brand new HOME showwhich ran last week at Earl’s Court, offered an inspiring selection of stylish, high quality interior accessories, lighting and occasional furniture, from hundreds of the best design companies in the UK and Europe.

Joining a panel of judges whose job it was to select the best of the show’s stands was our own Jill Webb from Conran & Company  who was accompanied by other design commentators including London Design Guide editor Max Fraser.

The winner in the best stand category was Reiko Kanieko – known for her delicate ceramics and pleasing aesthetic style.

Hers was a tiny stand and the judges felt quite strongly it would have been easy to award the prize to a big stand but that the restrictions of smaller scale made the job a lot more difficult. The stand complemented the product beautifully, with narrow shelving in quality wood and simple, paired back but elegant design.

Best British product went to a new entry from former trade-only toaster makers Rowlett Rutland  (best tag line ever “Because toast deserves respect” – so true) also proudly, and wonderfully, made in the UK. Being ‘good enough for industry’ definitely makes these toasters a firm favourite among us consumers we are sure and the fact they are made in the UK make them a firm Terence favourite too.

The best new product was Black & Blum’s ‘eau good’ water bottle: not just a clever name but also a stylish looking water bottle that makes tap water taste great.

Dan Black and Martin Blum wanted to create a bottle that was ergonomically- (and aesthetically) designed and would filter tap water as you drink. 

The ingenious and careful design is based on an ancient Japanese filtering system using carbon filters. Read more about it here on Treehugger.

All in all a great show – and not forgetting we were there in our own Conran capacity too, showing some brand new designs from Content by Conran and Conran Bath & Body.

..the new Counterbalance shelving from Content by Conran

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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.


Watch out for much more from us in 2012!


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Our favourite gifts for Christmas: what a performance!

Last week our store in Fulham Road played host to a surreal piece of performance art inspired by the circuit board/wiring theme of their windows – (inspired in turn by the award-winning Plumen light bulb).

It was created by film maker and costume designer Lucy Butler, with Jo Stobbs playing the mysterious and mischief-making piece of wiring.

Here are some photos of Jo doing the performance art in the Chelsea windows.  

The display itself looks suitably fabulous – with all our favourite Christmas gift ideas dotted in amongst the bright red wiring- the instantly recognisable Plumen lightbulbs rising up like triffids at varying points around the grid.
And ooh – is that some of the brand new Conran Bath & Body range we can spy down there at the bottom…?!

View our Christmas gift guide here:

Read more about Jo’s performance here on the Conran Shop blog.

Look at that amazing Plumen light bulb tree!

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