On Saturday September 12, Sir Terence Conran passed away among his family at the age of 88. A visionary, this architect and designer was notably at the origin of the concept of the Habitat and The Conran Shop brands. He was also co-founder of the Design Museum in London. The United Kingdom is losing one of its great defenders of design.
Visionary, pioneer, creator, philanthropist ... there are many adjectives to qualify the exceptional personality of Terence Conran: he represented one of the greatest British successes and was one of the architects of a new era for contemporary design. In 1964, he launched the first Habitat store in London, which embodied his desire to popularize design, and to make it more accessible by declining a principle of furniture in kit form. The success of the concept means that it is spreading in Europe. As a wink, he inaugurated 50 years after Habitat 1964, a vintage space at the Saint-Ouen flea market. The sign has since been sold. Also in this long-term vision of retail, he is the instigator of the brand The Conran Shop (created in 1973). He will install the sign in the Michelin building, in Chelsea, in 1987, renovating this iconic building and thus initiating the rehabilitation of Brompton Cross. The opening of a second London store, in Marylebone, will also spark the rebirth of Marylebone High Street.
Sir Terence Conran: from retail to museum
Ennobled by the Queen of England in the 1980s, the man who is now called Sir Terence Conran extends his influence around the world, setting up his stores in remarkable places, from Europe to Japan and South Korea, embodying “the good taste of modern Britain”.
In 1989, he founded the Design Museum in the Bermondsey district. In 2011, for his 80th birthday, the institution devoted the exhibition “The Way We Live Now” to him, a true retrospective of his work – from his very first drawings! – which testified to its influence on the way of life of the British. In 2016, alongside Rem Koolhaas, he signed the layout of the new place, this time located in the Kensington district: 10,000 square meters organized into two spaces, one dedicated to temporary exhibitions, the other as it should be dedicated. to “mass design”.