I started my case study for the project researching about the founder of the Conran shops Terence Conran. Terence Conran is an English designer, retailer and writer. Born in 1931, his name has become synonymous with furniture design around the world because of his love to create furniture’s and house accessories that have been designed to improve people’s lifes. Conran enrolled at the Central School of Art and Design in London in 1948 but he departed in 1951 at the age of 19 to work for architect Dennis Lennon. In 1952 Conran set himself up as an independent designer opening Conran & Company from a basement in Notting Hill. Because he wanted to establish a shop that would sell modern designs to the general public he founded home furnishing chain Habitat with the first opening in Chelsea in 1964. The success of Habitat further fuelled Conran’s retail ambitions and in 1973 the first branch of The Conran Shop opened on the site of the original Habitat store in Chelsea.
In 1990 he set up Conran Holdings from an apartment in Shad Thames, London and had a major role in the regeneration of the area close to Tower Bridge, which was managed through the Conran Foundation: a charitable fund set up in 1980. In addition to his success in the retail sector Conran has achieved notable triumphs in other pursuits. He has written over 30 informative books that broadly reflect his design philosophy, selling over 20 million copies of his publications worldwide.
Over the past 50 years the name Conran has become linked with restaurants. Initially opening up The Soup Kitchen in 1952 Conran has subsequently opened more than 30 restaurants in central London, Paris, Copenhagen, New York and Tokyo.
Honours and awards
Conran was knighted in 1983.
He is a winner of the Chartered Society of Designers Minerva Medal, the society’s highest award.
Between 2003 and 2011, Conran was provost of the Royal College of Art.
In 2003, he received the Prince Philip Designers Prize in recognition of his lifetime achievements in design.
In 2007, he received an honorary degree from London South Bank University.
In May 2012, he received an honorary professorship from the University for the Creative Arts, for services to design, education and the creative arts.
Conran received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Architecture, honoris causa) from the University of Pretoria for his contributions to interior design in August 2012.
Pages From My Design Development Book