Tag Archives: DESIGN

Conran & Company: Burning the midnight oil…

There’s been a lot of late nights recently at Conran & Company as we finish off the final product designs for our Conran M&S range for Autumn/Winter 2012 – sometimes it’s really easy to forget we are still in 2011!

But, with beautiful sunsets over The Shard, Pizza Express takeaway, Hobnobs and endless tea rounds to keep us going, we’re nearly there – and we’re very excited about what we’ve got to show.

 Of course, these products won’t be on the shelf until this time next year but by then we will have our heads firmly in 2013.  

Here’s a flavour of things in the Conran & Company Studio.

Aaron working hard on upholstery and tableware designs


Lale checking out some newly arrived towel samples

Working on the layouts for the first catalogue

The team getting some feedback from Jill Webb after a meeting with Terence

The Preview collection will go on sale this Autumn and be available nationwide and online from September 22nd

There’s already been a great press reaction.

You can get a sneak peak of some of these products in the M&S AW12 Catalogue – available in store now.

Watch out for Terence’s Top Ten products – one a day right here on the Conran blog – starting September 12th


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Conran & Company’s: Hot and Not from Designs of the Year (mostly Hot!)

Just in case you missed Designs of the Year at the Design Museum which closed last weekend here’s a quick summary from the team at Conran & Company.

The Thomas Heatherwick Spun chairs (last seen here in our post on the Milan Furniture Fair 2010) were a hit – you really have to trust that you don’t fall backwards onto your head!

Still, they are really fun and surely a great solution for outside – available to buy at the Design Museum shop!


In the ‘Interactive’ category the crowdsourced Johnny Cash project was really intriguing and beautiful – such a great idea. (Crowdsourcing and crowfunding is rather a hot topic at the moment – see our post from the debate we held here a few weeks ago– with full report to come…)


There’s more than one cycling enthusiast in our offices and the Transport section gave us plenty of food for thought when it came to new designs and innovations in this category.

We became slightly obsessed with the videos of people using the rather unusual but very fun looking Yike Bikes


– but some were less impressed by the new ‘super commuter’ offering from Vanmoof  – which while very practical (especially loving the integrated heavy-duty lock) was deemed to be slightly ugly – still, anything to stop your bike getting nicked!


In general the Graphics category was much admired, not in the least the eventual winner, the amazingly simple, almost Feng-Shui type images for a Swedish Cookery book: Homemade is Best by Forsman & Bodenfors for IKEA- carefully composed graphic still lifes that bring the ingredients centrestage.

Of course it goes without saying that we loved the overall winner, the now ubiquitous Plumen light bulb by Sam Wilkinson and Hulger (read our exclusive Q&A with Sam here….)


If you missed Designs of the Year do not fret there’s an equally brilliant exhibition on Kenneth Grange (you’ll know more of his products than you think) – and watch this space for details of a very special exhibition later in the year…all about Terence!

Celebrating his 80th birthday in September, it’s entitled THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and will feature work from over 60 years including original habitat pieces, Terence’s sketches and bestselling products from over the eras.

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Conran: Terence’s perfect weekend

Ever wonderered what Terence does when he’s not ‘working’? Actually, as we see from this article on his perfect weekend in The FT How To Spend It, a perfect weekend can mean quite a bit of working too…

Still, we are glad to see he seems to allow a fair amount of time for entertaining, ‘sitting outside in the garden’, building rills, perusing junk shops and buying delicious, locally sourced food to cook as well as spending Sunday with his children and grandchildren. What indeed could be more perfect….

Click here to read the full article…

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Conran: First Conran/M&S press hits our desks…and the catalogue is out!

There was great excitement in the office of Conran & Company this morning as we spotted the Ackroyd sofa from our ‘Conran exclusive design only at M&S collection’  on the front news page of September’s Living Etc.
Doesn’t it look great?
Shown here in our exclusive Orsett fabric in teal.
It’s available to buy with the rest of the preview collection of 70 products from Mid September…  
It’s all go in the Conran & Company studio. Designs for the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection are being sketched as we speak, reviews of the impending Spring/Summer 2012 collection (over 300 products!) are going on amidst packaging development (oh the copywriting!) and planning for next week’s phootshoot for the bedlinen -also available Spring 2012….so there’s a little while to wait, but we promise you it’s worth it…    
Conran/M&S certainly keeps us busy but we love it and, as Terence is quoted as saying in the article, ‘It’s an opportunity of a lifetime…’
What’s more the catalogue is now out so you can get a preview of these products. It’s available in M&S stores if you want to take a look – full collection will be online in the next few weeks…    


 *Watch out for our ‘Countdown to launch’ where, from the second week in September, each day we’ll be featuring one of our top ten favourite products from the new range – get your sneak preview and insider info here…


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


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

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Conran: Design a great 2011!

With Christmas just around the corner we thought we would tell you a little bit more about how our fabulous Conran Christmas card 2010 came into being.

Santi Tonsukha from Studio Conran explains…

First up was Brainstorming  – a truly collaborative process. Studio Conran staff – and a few others from around the Conran Group – spent an hour coming up with tons of ideas. Some are whimsical. Some are fun and exciting. Some are outrageous and over the top.

We then picked three that we thought could be achieved within the time frame and budget that we had.

The Pencil

The Conran world is a creative one. We thought the pencil is a great representation of who we are. Even with today’s technologies, pencil and paper are the starting tools for designers.

Also, in today’s economy, a gift that is not wasteful seems appropriate.

We started thinking about what kind of pencils we would like to give away. Coloured pencil? Round? Hexagonal? One thing we knew from the beginning is that we wanted to incorporate the Conran blue in some way. In the end we picked a blue one that was made of recycled CD cases.


We explored different materials and decided to use corrugated cardboard for packaging. What’s not to like about recycled corrugated cardboard? It’s lightweight. Protective. Affordable and Environmental-friendly.

The motif on the cardboard is inspired by grid paper that designers/architects often use. The plus shape also goes well with our positive message “Design a great 2011”

In short, we think it is a perfect little Christmas/New year gift from Conran that is thoughtful, fun, and reflects the company’s philosophy. We hope you agree….

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Conran: Endeavour to be better by design…

An excellent article by Lou Cooper in Marketing Week today talks about how brands are using design to set them apart from the competition.

In it our very own CEO Roger Mavity explains that design is not just about making things look good, but about adding value for consumers..

We try to design things in a way that radiates our basic belief that intelligent design improves quality of life. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s a well-designed store or building, it’s the fact that the design is intelligent, sensitive and creative. If that gives functionality to the user, then it’s good design, and that’s what we believe in

A prime example of that is our Boundary project in Shoreditch, designed by Conran & Partners – it’s a converted Victorian warehouse which houses three restaurants and bars, 12 hotel rooms and a bakery. As always our aim has been to make each project functional, yet exciting.

Albion Caff where cutlery sits in old syrup tins and the stools have old tractor seats

Boundary Restuarant where you can see the chefs at work and marvel at original artworks and objects from Terence's collections...


Boundary Project


Click to read the article in full

Like the cross-section image? Find out more about out our fabulous 3D visualisation team next week when they’ll be showing us more of what they can do…

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