Tag Archives: sustainability

The Green Team

We’re very proud of our architects at Conran today. They have been shortlisted for a Housing Design Award for the Green Man Lane development in Ealing.

The awards are some of the most prestigious in public housing development, supported by the Government, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the National House Building Council.

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The view of the community café from Singapore Road

The Green Man Lane estate will comprise over 750 new homes for affordable rental, shared ownership and sale. New community facilities will include an hotel, a low cost gym and a market square with cafes, park and retail space.

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The whole site from above

The houses will achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will utilise rainwater collectors and water-saving technology.

The project is headed up by Paul Zara, Director of Conran & Partners.

“We want this to be outstanding architecture that raises the spirits of those who live there. Our aim is to set new standards in Ealing and create a place where people will be proud to be a resident.” 

Being shortlisted for a Housing Design Award seems like to a good start to us, Paul.

You can read more about the 2012 Housing Design Awards 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: High quality and made to last – true sustainability

Yesterday we came across this fabulous article by Joss Bailey who runs the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, about Terence’s input at Friday’s Earth Awards (click here to read our post about the awards)

We’re very glad she agrees with us about what makes something sustainable.

Here’s a taster:

It is very easy to level the accusation that the Conran empire, however well-principled, caters only to the upper middle classes. The people who eat in his restaurants and shop in his shops are those who can afford both sustainability and luxury: ironic for a business built on a personal philosophy of thrift. But then the issue of over-consumption, at least in our own country, went hand in hand with the exponential growth of the middle classes – the lower echelons aspiring upwards via the accumulation of stuff. Surely Conran’s model is a much better one to aspire to? His designs are high quality made to last: his customer is not the insatiable consumer, but someone who buys an armchair for life. His products are only expensive by comparison, their price tags just reflect the true value of things (if not outsourced to a sweatshop).

Read the full article on her blog


The Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group is an interest group of MPs and peers that exists to keep the cause of good design on the Parliamentary agenda. We are all in support of that.

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Conran: At the Earth Awards

There was a strong Conran presence at this year’s Earth Awards, held last Friday in the ornate surroundings of Marlborough House off the Mall, with Terence, Conran Holdings CEO Roger Mavity and Sean Sutcliffe from Benchmark Furniture on the podium in discussion with the Financial Times architecture critic, Edwin Heathcote.

Partnering with the FT Summit: Investing in Innovative Design and Technology, the Earth Awards is a platform for consumer-driven ideas that challenge designers and innovators to build a new economy. Its aim is to identify viable designs which have the potential to improve our quality of life and build a new economy.

So it was a perfect stage for Roger, Sean and Terence to talk to an audience of delegates and opinion formers from all over the world about Conran and Benchmark’s involvement in sustainable design solutions.

Terence spoke passionately about preserving beautiful old buildings and breathing new life in to them, something that Conran & Partners have significant experience of including Boundary, the Bluebird, Embassy Court, Butlers Wharf and the Design Museum.

Roger gave a passionate yet witty key note address, encouraging people to redesign the way we live our lives while Sean talked of Benchmark’s contribution to rural communities and importance of using sustainable wood in furniture making.

He concluded with a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright:

“The best friend of earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.”


Read more about Benchmark’s excellent work on their blog



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Conran: New Benchmark Furniture launched at Terence Conran’s house in the country…

Benchmark Furniture launched a new range of twenty pieces of furniture designed by Terence Conran and the Benchmark team to the press this week.

Twenty five journalists came down from London to the Benchmark showroom and workshop at Kintbury in Berkshire on a perfect summer’s day to see the new products.


Lunch was served in a marquee in the vegetable garden and was made by the Benchmark canteen chef and sourced locally; crayfish and trout from the Kennet River, vegetables and strawberries from the garden and elderflower cordial made by Terence’s stepdaughter Hattie.


Tea with cakes and scones made by Terence’s wife Vicki was provided on the terrace in front of the house later on should anyone still have been hungry.

Terence was pleased that on the way back to London on the bus no volcanic clouds had intervened. In his words:

“It’s a lot easier than visiting the shows in Milan and a further demonstration that the UK can still make world class furniture at a reasonable price”

Here here.

The press have already started writing about it

David Nicholls in The Telegraph

The new Benchmark catalogue showing the new range was designed by Studio Conran.

Sarah O’Keefe, a graphic designer from Studio Conran who worked on the brochure was in attendance too

“After working with Benchmark over the last few months on their beautiful new brochure, it was lovely to spend a summer afternoon with them in the countryside eating delicious, locally sourced food upon a 11 metre length of oak. Benchmark have a true passion for craftsmanship and design, and their pride in what they do was very evident as they toured us around their workshops. If you ever find yourself in Kintbury, I would recommend dropping into their showroom to be inspired by the wonderful furniture they produce.”

Write to sales@benchmarkfurniture.com for a copy of the catalogue or look at the website

www.benchmarkfurniture.com

Benchmark –  Kintbury  –  Hungerford  –  Berkshire  –  RG17 9SA

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