Last week I went to the press preview of for The Way We Live Now at The Design Museum marking the 80th birthday of Sir Terence Conran who is one of the most pivotal figures in British design history. It’s was a truly moving and impressive exhibition showing the remarkable extent that Terence Conran has impacted on interior design in our homes and where we eat, from the high end to the high street and on the way we live now!
Most people don’t even realise that the mug they are holding now or the shape of the sofa they are sitting on was possible because Conran introduced intelligent, modern design to the general British population in the 60’s and 70’s – revolutionizing the UK high street with Habitat selling trend-driven household goods and furniture. Taking command of the Storehouse Plc group of companies in the 1980’s Conran oversaw Mothercare and Heals. Retail ventures also included the highly successful Conran Shop and modern venture Benchmark Furniture.
Conran is also responsible for many restaurant ventures that have influenced our current design landscape – Bluebird, Skylon, The Boundary to name a few.
At the press event Sir Terence spoke reflectively at the preview about the exhibition reminding him of achievements that even he had forgotten and how he thought design and manufacture was absolutely fundamental to the recovery of this country. Everyone should go see this exhibition… from nostalgic Habitat catalogues and teapots that evoked my university days, I am proud to say Conran is a part of my design landscape!