Tag Archives: jane lawrence

Conran’s Tuscan transformation…

Our internationally-acclaimed architecture and design practice Conran and Partners has been signed up to create one of the leading residential resort destinations in Tuscany.

We have unveiled our vision for the new estate in the heart of one of Europe’s most desirable locations and are now working on the masterplan to turn that vision into reality.

 The Il Ciocco estate, 40km north of Lucca and an hour from Pisa Airport, has been carefully managed by the Marcucci family since 1949. The family has a long history in the Valle del Serchio, with their pharmaceutical business establishing its headquarters here.

 An existing hotel is being refurbished, upgraded and rebranded as the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. This project is expected to be completed for the summer 2012 and will see Il Ciocco become one of the leading hotel resorts in Tuscany.

Our vision emphasises the importance of the landscape of Il Ciocco and ensures the estate works as a whole. The plans will see a new community on the west-facing 700 hectare estate with around 100 houses, a potential retreat hotel on the summit of the estate, a locanda, or inn, with rooms and community and leisure facilities.

 The homes will be a mixture of renovated traditional Tuscan buildings together with new-build houses sympathetic to the surroundings. We have a great track record in the restoration of historic buildings; giving them a new sense of purpose and successfully integrating modern design into older architectural styles.

The project is being headed up by Interior Design Director Jane Lawrence and Architectural Director Nigel Lea who said:

“The vision is to transform Il Ciocco into a one of the leading hotel resorts in Tuscany, while retaining and enhancing its place in the heart of the existing community. 

Conran and Partners has a portfolio of work that gives us the experience and expertise to turn that vision into reality.

 We are a London-based design studio with an international perspective and reputation. Working closely with the Marcucci family and Knight Frank we know we can create something truly beautiful and inspiring.

 Il Ciocco will be entirely Tuscan and will appeal to people who understand the beauty and the quality of life in this region of Italy.

 But it will also bear the hallmark of the Conran design ethos which has proved so successful on large-scale mixed use developments from London to Tokyo to India and Asia.

We have spent a long time studying the countryside to inform our vision for the site and our masterplan will use the landscape, and in particular the hillside, to develop a sense of a journey through the estate from arrival at the foot of the estate to the summit.”

All that remains to be said now is when do we get to go?!



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Conran: Helping to ‘Save the Children’ through design…

Last year Conran & Partners helped transform ‘Save the Children’ shops up and down the country as part of the BBC TV series ‘Mary Queen of Charity Shops’ presented by Mary Portas.

Interior Design Director Jane Lawrence headed up the project – bringing bold, bright colour into the stores.

We’ve just found this great clip recently posted online which shows Jane presenting the concepts to the shops staff – it’s definitely worth a watch!

Watch it here!

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Conran: Hotels of the Future / Part 2

Jane Lawrence, Interior Design Director at Conran & Partners concludes her report from her position as moderator on the debate:

Hotel 2025: Next generation design and technology – A look at the cutting edge design, technology and architecture that may find its way into your next hotel construction or renovation.

If you missed the first part read Conran: Hotels of the Future / Part 1

The idea of a hotel becoming a destination in itself rather than being seen as ‘just somewhere to sleep’ has been on the agenda for a while now with design being an important factor in the customers’ decision  making  process.

I have to cite Boundary as one such hotel that illustrates this point perfectly; here customers not only have the choice of one room style to satisfy their individual tastes, but 17.

Boundary – winner of Sleeper Magazine Hotel of the Year

Another example of this is the Park Hotel, Hyderabad, one of a number of hotels in India designed by us for the Park Hotels Group. Here our client followed the lead of the Puerta America Hotel, Madrid, involving a number of designers and architects and thereby achieving a collection of different styles and spaces. In Hyderabad we were sharing centre stage with the likes of SOM.

The watchword of the moment – sustainability – was of course mentioned and discussed with rather interesting consequences. From the hoteliers and operators feedback it seems that provenance rather than sustainability per se is foremost in customers’ expectations as people increasingly want to understand more about the origins of the food, wine and culture of the hotel and its environs.

As an aside from the conference I did get a chance to visit the Architectural Biennale.

Whilst the installations in some of the national pavilions were a little laboured a great many of the works exhibited within the old ship building workshops in the Arsenale were very inspiring, not least of all an exhibit by Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo architects ‘Cloudscape’ . Sadly the exhibition closes on the 21st November.

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Conran: Hotels of the Future / Part 1

Jane Lawrence, Interior Design Director from Conran & Partners, travelled to Venice to moderate a debate on the future of hotels – and unearthed some interesting conclusions.

If you were looking for architectural debate and inspiration Venice was definitely the place to be a couple of weeks ago, with the Venice Biennale of Architecture in full swing and, across the water, the International Hotel Conference at the Hilton Molino Stucky opening its doors to delegates from all over the world.

The conference was well attended – and managed to achieve a really informal atmosphere with lots going on, including two cocktail parties where much interaction and debate took place.

I also attended a dinner party hosted by one of the hoteliers, at a waterside restaurant on the Zattere.

The event does tend to be quite European/US -centric – it would be good to see more representation from the Asian sector; however the delegates that did attend represented a good cross section of disciplines involved with the hotel industry.

The title of the debate was Hotel 2025: Next generation design and technology – A look at the cutting edge design, technology and architecture that may find its way into your next hotel construction or renovation.

I was moderating a group of 5 hotel experts including; hoteliers, entrepreneurs, architects and technology specialists – a good indication of who attended the conference.

Several key themes emerged during the debate that kept the conversation very lively.

Communication and Personalisation presented itself as being very important in the minds of today’s hotel customers with a number of  people seeing a future where everything in your room is controlled by an iPhone and the space is tailored to your own requirements.

On the flip side many delegates considered the importance of a more personalised, face to face approach requiring better concierge services and higher levels of customer service.

All very interesting but it was up to me to make sure Design as a topic remained on the agenda – not just the functional aspects of hotels of the future.

The changing role of the lobby in a world of growing ‘Global Nomads’ was one that particularly interested me – with all-day cafes and the proliferation of WiFi people are now using lobbies as multifunctional, long-term venues and an alternative to their bedroom, especially for those among us who simply can’t wait to get out of a room that isn’t our own!


Lobby of the Conran & Partners designed Park Hotel in Hyderabad

Check out Part 2 tomorrow to hear more conclusions from the debate…

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Conran & Partners on TV…and other news

It’s not often anyone gets to be on tele, let alone twice in less than a year, but Jane Lawrence of Conran & Partners can now officially adopt this claim to fame.

Last year BBC1 aired Mary Queen of Charity Shops, where Conran & Partners created the interiors for Save the Children’s retail shop in Orpington, helping Mary Portas take on a seemingly impossible challenge: dragging this humble, forgotten, unloved charity shop into the 21st century. After five long months a remarkable, lasting transformation was achieved.

Earlier this week the BBC revisited the shop, and there she was again, presenting our concepts to the shop staff.

Why not take a look – it’s on BBC iPlayer till 10pm on 3 May – if you can’t watch the whole thing you can see her from 24.50-26.45 and you can see the final solution from 31.55-33.00:

Jane L on the BBC

Conran & Partners Seeks new Marketing Assistant

Our Architects and Interiors team are looking for someone to help them out with marketing – this is a great opportunity to join a thriving and friendly team.

Click here for more info

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CONRAN and Hix

On a previous post we mentioned Hix, the new Conran & Partners designed restaurant and champagne bar in Selfridges which opened last month.

The new 90 seat restaurant offers a fresh variation on Mark Hix’s well-known theme of British food, serving a selection of British and European classics all using the best seasonal produce available. There’s also a 40 seat champagne bar for those in a celebratory mood.

Our interiors team went for a glamourous mid century feel using Saarinen and Knoll furniture and the Andreu world Carola chair.

Benchmark furniture also supplied many key pieces throughout the restaurant.

The restaurant features artwork from British artists including Tracy Emin who did the neon sign at the entrance.


Next week more on Hix as interior designer Jane Lawrence talks about working on the project.

Conran Contracts did their bit by supplying all the furniture and lighting.

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