D&D London’s big month

Caterer and Hotelkeeper has a big interview with Des Gunewardena and David Loewi, the men at the top of D&D London, in their latest issue.

The focus is firmly on South Place Hotel and the Old Bengal Warehouse, both of which open this month, and both of which feature the hard work of Conran’s interiors designers and branders.

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Friday Tip: A little show in Mayfair

Today’s tip is for an exhibition opening next Tuesday at 54 The Gallery, Mayfair, and comes from Hannah Cowley, an architect at Conran and Partners’ Brighton office.

David Cowley Art

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Seeing red

We’re delighted to announce RED, an exhibition The Conran Shop will be holding throughout the 2012 London Design Festival, which kicks off a week tomorrow.

Petit Pan Red Lobster

A peek at The Conran Shop’s RED exhibition

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The South Place Hotel opens its doors

South Place Hotel is the first hotel from venerable restaurant group D&D London, but – if we’ve counted correctly – the 84th restaurant and hotel design project we’ve worked on.

South Place Hotel

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Yes in my back yard

Three months after Sir Terence Conran aimed his ire at Grant Shapps’ slow progress on housing, the topic is hotting up, with George Osborne calling for ‘imaginative thinking’ around green belt development, and a general consensus that the housing shortfall has become a housing crisis.

The Conran Manifesto

Terence criticises the Coalition’s lack of progress on housing in May

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Friday Tip: Head to Heatherwick

Terence Conran mentored the young Thomas Heatherwick, whom he recently called ‘the Leonardo da Vinci of our times’. In fact, Heatherwick’s final degree project was assembled – and now resides – in the garden of Terence’s Berkshire home.

London Routemaster – Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick’s new Routemaster bus

If Heatherwick was a star already at the start of 2012 – with, for example, the new design for London’s Routemaster bus under his belt – then he’s recently gone interstellar. His grand design for the Olympic cauldron, featuring 204 copper petals put in place by the athletes of each competing nation, was the centrepiece of an almost-universally praised opening ceremony.

Heatherwick's cauldron

The spectacular London 2012 Olympic cauldron

He’s also the subject of a major exhibition at the V&A at the moment. Entitled Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, it examines a wide range of projects, from urban planning to fashion. Heatherwick’s multi-modal genius affirms a notion very close to our hearts, that great design requires only two ingredients: creativity and empathy.

If you’re at a loose end this weekend, you could do an awful lot worse.

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Designing for good: the D+AD White Pencil

We’re big believers in the capacity of design to improve the world. Of course, all design should do this, from a coffee cup to a piece of architecture. But some designs are more virtuous than others.

D&AD White Pencil

The D&AD White Pencil award exists to honour the crème de la crème of virtuous design – designs submitted in response to a brief, that help make the world a better place. Appropriately enough, the awards are based around Peace One Day, the global peace day held every 21st September.

This year, the brief is to grow support for Peace One Day itself:

“Grow awareness of and engagement with, Peace Day, establishing September 21 as a global, self-sustaining, annual day of peace, when everyone can take action to end conflict in their own lives and in the lives of others.”

Peace Day is about far more than just kind words: in 2007, its potential was proven when Peace One Day led a ceasefire in Afghanistan, and 4.5 million children were vaccinated against polio.

Peace One Day

Anyone can enter the White Pencil. Winners will prove the value of their idea by acting on it: raising as much awareness as possible in the run up to and on 21st September, and explaining how they’ve done so. There are more details here.

Daljit Singh, head of Conran Singh, is a D&AD Ambassador, and has this to say:

“The White Pencil presents a unique opportunity engage the grey matter towards good, a chance to point our collective energy and skills to do something better for society.”

Off you go!

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