Remembering Sir Terence Conran

Sir Terence Conran


Following the news that the visionary British designer and founder of the Design Museum passed away on Saturday, 12 September, the Design Museum will be celebrating Terence Conran’s life and career with a commemorative display and memory book, which you can sign.

Along with his family and colleagues, here we remember his lasting legacy and huge impact on contemporary British design during his 88 years.

Born in 1931, Conran studied textile design at London’s Central School of Art before he began his career making and selling furniture. He founded the Conran Design Group in 1956, which earned a reputation for demonstrating the best of British design, specialising in interiors, hotel and restaurant design, graphics, products and homeware. He opened his first Habitat store in 1964 and grew the furniture company from a single London outlet to an international chain.

As well as The Conran Shop, which he opened in 1972 with locations in London, Paris, New York and most recently Seoul, he also earned praise for his iconic restaurants, hotels and bars that included Le Pont de la Tour, Bluebird, Bibendum, The Boundary and Quaglino's.

After being knighted for his services to design in 1983, he founded the world's first museum dedicated to design six years later.

“From the late forties to the present day, his energy and creativity thrived in his shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels and through his many design, architecture and furniture making businesses. Founding the Design Museum in London was one of his proudest moments and through its endeavours he remained a relentless champion of the importance of education to young people in the creative industries,” his family said in a statement.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Design Museum, Lord Mandelson added: “Terence Conran has filled our lives for generations with ideas, innovation and brilliant design. He is one of the most iconic figures of post-war Britain, starting to recast the world of design when as a young man he joined the team working on the 1951 Festival of Britain and never stopping from that moment on. He leaves a treasure trove of household and industrial design that will stay with us forever. And in the Design Museum, which he conceived, inspired and drove, he has the most brilliant, enduring tribute and legacy. All of us at the Museum will miss him terribly and never lose sight of what he believed in and what he has contributed to the UK story.”