Category Archives: CONRAN HISTORY

Looking $100 billion

Last month, we launched our new Facebook timeline, which allows you to dip into our heritage, as well as keep up to date with our latest news.

It’s a work in progress, but we think it’s already looking pretty neat.

Conran on Facebook

The good people at Shiny Shiny seem to agree: they just included Conran in their roundup of ‘Cool Facebook brand timelines‘, alongside the likes of Starbucks, Red Bull, and the US Army!

Conran on Facebook @ Shiny Shiny

You can find Conran’s Facebook page here. If there’s more you think we could be doing with it, please let us know.


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What went on at Conran?

At Conran, we have some strong ideas about what constitutes good design. We think good design should make people’s lives better, first and foremost. Above all, to quote our Chairman, we have an affection for the ‘plain, simple and useful’.

From Terence Conran’s first splash at the Festival of Britain in 1951, we’ve worked across design disciplines to that end. It’s a heritage that we’re very proud of.

Facebook’s new ‘Timeline’ layout gave us a good opportunity to delve into our design history. Take a look for yourself, and find out what went on at Conran – as well as how we’re building on that heritage today.

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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: Meeting up in style…

What better place to enjoy a cool glass of wine on one of the warmest, sunniest evenings of the year than the rooftop terrace of Terence Conran’s apartment.

And while you’re there why not have a nose around our building and find out a bit more about Conran?

That’s exactly what tempted 40 of the UK’s most eminent design bloggers to join us last night for the first of our blogger’s meet-up events, run in conjunction with our friends over at, the one-stop shop for all your design needs.

We thought it would also be a great opportunity for people to chat to our team and get the lowdown on each part of Conran, whilst having a little look around our studios.

While the team from The Conran Shop chatted to people about some of their hot new products for Spring Summer 2011, down in Studio Conran Bryony Akehurst and Katy Clarke talked the guests through the branding project they did for the healthy cake people Petit Pois and Product Designer Jared Mankelow demonstrated the design process behind our mobile phone which launched in Japan last year, sparking a very interesting discussion on the dying art of hand sketching as a useful exploratory phase at the beginning of the design process.

Interior Designer Jacqui Senior and Architect Nico Santarelli showed bloggers around our Architecture & Interiors floor, Conran & Partners talking about the breadth of interior design we have done all over the world and the massive new redevelopment project Conran & Partners have just completed in Tokyo (more next week…).

All very interesting stuff and lots of questions asked!

In Conran & Company project manager Holly-Anne Rolfe and textile designer Lâle Güralp gave the bloggers a quick tour around their office, showcasing some of the Conran branded product they help develop including brand new bedlinen designs from Bed by Conran and Conran Fine Bedlinen which are just about to hit the shops – books, colour and inspiration galore.

Plus much interest in the beautiful collection of prints of paintbrush collections which Terence bought as a book and framed years ago which have adorned the walls of the office since it was Terence’s a few years ago (he’s now just across the hallway).

There’s already been a few reports posted up there in the big, bold, blogosphere…

there’s one here at – (thanks!)

Watch this space – we hope to have many more meet-ups in the future….enjoy the sun!



Filed under Conran & Company, Conran & Partners, Conran and London, Conran Contracts, CONRAN HISTORY, CONTENT BY CONRAN, INTERIOR DESIGN, STUDIO CONRAN, TERENCE CONRAN, THE CONRAN SHOP

Conran Foundation Awards recognise the next generation of artists and designers

Six students from the Royal College of Art have been named as winners of the 2010 Conran Foundation Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the awards were set up to encourage and support young artists and designers graduating from the Royal College of Art. The students were presented with their awards by Terence at a ceremony held at the College during SHOW TWO which ended last week.

“The Conran Foundation’s support of the College and the SHOW has been terrific. With the Conran Awards the Foundation is also helping six graduating students to realise their post-education dreams – a wonderfully appropriate way of recognising talent that has been nurtured and grown here at the College” – Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA.

The prize is worth £12,000 and the awards are open to students from the Schools of Fine Art, Applied Art, Fashion and Textiles, Architecture and Design, Design for Production, and Communications.

Lady Victoria Conran and Sebastian Conran from the Foundation as well as Professor Alan Cummings, Pro-Rector of the College, spent three days interviewing all of the candidates and discussing their work.

And this year’s lucky winners are…

Innovation Design Engineering student Richard Gilbert’s project Embodied, explores the larger systems that design operates in.  By highlighting how much energy is used in the design and manufacturing process through a simple ‘Top Trumps’ style information system, Gilbert hopes to alert people to the environmental impacts of design work and find alternatives to inherited design practices that simply do not have a place in the future.

From Photography, Agata Madejska’s work deals with extracting man-made objects from the urban environment. Photographs of monuments and statues are blacked out, giving them a different meaning to the viewer.

Sculpture student Lucy May was selected for her remarkable large-scale pieces – False Paradise 1, 2 & 3. Wax, foam, fake flowers, shredded plastic and wire were all utilized in giving these sculptures a distinct presence and spectacular beauty.

David Seesing from Vehicle Design has devised Symbiosis, a car made from an inner and outer layer of glass designed to channel air flow through the vehicle to aid fuel efficiency and temperature control. It is also intended to interface with buildings and homes by using a ‘chimney effect’ charging system, using the building to create internal airstreams which constantly pull air through the vehicle parked outside. Any surplus energy generated can feed into the national grid, as a more rounded concept of living.

Fashion Menswear student Hanna Ter Meulen’s exquisitely crafted garments caught the judges attention, with a combination of classic tailoring and innovative fabric manipulation. Hanna uses smocking and weaving techniques to shape the material in a contemporary way, creating a comfortable, flexible cut which shapes to the male body.

Harry Thaler, graduating from Design Products, was praised for his ingenious pressed aluminum chair which is bent into shape to form a super-light, stackable design. The chair is light enough to be lifted with only two fingers, yet extremely strong without any external structural support.

What’s the CONRAN Foundation?

Terence founded The Conran Foundation in 1980.  Its first initiative, the seminal Boilerhouse Project gallery at the V&A became the Design Museum at Butlers Wharf which – did we mention? – became the first museum in the world dedicated to the promotion and examination of design.

The Design Museum then…and now.

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London: It’s a CONRAN place

We are passionate about London:

We live it and breathe it.

We design here.

We sell here.

We shop here.

We eat here and own places to eat here.

We think of London as our own.

We are London people.
Every Friday we will bring you a recommendation for having a great London Weekend whether it’s the latest secret art show or an insight into a must-see play.

Follow us to make sure you don’t miss out.

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…more about us

We are lucky enough to work in one of London’s most historic districts.

All around us the names of buildings (Vanilla Court, Wheat Wharf, The Clove Building) pay testament to the thriving industries that made Britain great and transformed London into the unrivalled city of commerce and culture it is today.

We are passionate about Britain and British Design.

Terence is featured in the ‘Backing Young Britain’ campaign

Everyone knows: never make an enemy of a receptionist.

These two are the gatekeepers to CONRAN – beware any cold callers – we aren’t looking to change our cleaning contract and we certainly aren’t the ambulance service.

Be nice – they are!

(The proliferation of conran blue is not a uniform requirement – just a happy accident on this occasion)

Next week: Izzie’s top 5 bizarre reception incidents. There really are more than you would think…


Filed under Conran and London, CONRAN HISTORY