Sir Terence Orby Conran CH RDI FCSD (4 October 1931 – 12 September 2020) was an English designer, restaurateur, retailer and writer.
1 Early life and education
2.3 Honours and awards
6 See also
8 External links
Early life and education
Conran was born in Kingston upon Thames, son of Christina Mabel (Halstead) and South African-born Gerard Rupert Conran, a businessman who owned a rubber importation company in East London. Conran was educated at Highfield School in Liphook, Bryanston School in Dorset and the Central School of Art and Design (now incorporated into Central St Martin's, a part of the University of the Arts, London), where he studied textiles and other materials.
Conran's first professional work came when he worked in the Festival of Britain (1951) on the main South Bank site. He left college to take up a job with Dennis Lennon's architectural company, which had been commissioned to make a 1/4-scale interior of a Princess Flying Boat.
Conran started his own design practice in 1956 with the Summa furniture range and designing a shop for Mary Quant.
In 1964, he opened the first Habitat shop in Chelsea, London, with his third wife Caroline Herbert, which grew into a large chain selling household goods and furniture in contemporary designs.
In the mid-1980s, Conran expanded Habitat into the Storehouse plc group of companies that included BhS, Mothercare and Heal's but in 1990 he lost control of the company.
His later retail companies included the Conran Shop and FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood furniture maker Benchmark Furniture, which he co-founded with Sean Sutcliffe in 1983.
He was also involved in architecture and interior design, including establishing the architecture and planning consultancy Conran Roche with Fred Roche in 1980. Projects include Michelin House (which he turned into the restaurant Bibendum) and the Bluebird Garage, both in Chelsea. Conran had a major role in the regeneration in the early 1990s of the Shad Thames area of London next to Tower Bridge that includes the Design Museum. His business, Conran and Partners, is a design company comprising product, brand and interior designers and architects, working on projects all over the world. Conran designs furniture for Marks & Spencer, J. C. Penney, Content by Conran, Benchmark and The Conran Shop.
In 1997 he appeared as himself in “In the Smoke”, S5:E7 of Pie in the Sky.
Main article: D&D London
Besides Bibendum, Conran created many other restaurants in London and elsewhere. In 2005, he was named as the most influential restaurateur in the UK by CatererSearch, the website of Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine. In 2007, 49 percent of the restaurant business was sold to two former managers, who rebranded it as D&D London.
In 2008, he returned to the restaurant business on a personal basis by opening Boundary, a restaurant, bar, café and meeting room complex in Shoreditch, East London. This was followed in 2009 by Lutyens, a restaurant and private club within the former Reuters building in Fleet Street London.
He wrote over 50 books that broadly reflect his design philosophy, selling over 25 million copies worldwide. The majority of these books were published by Conran Octopus, a division of Octopus Publishing Group, a cross-platform illustrated-book publisher founded by Conran and Paul Hamlyn.
Honours and awards
Conran was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1983 New Year Honours and Companion of Honour (CH) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to design.
He was 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 2010, Conran was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts.
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.
He won the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Catey Awards in 2017.
Conran married architect Brenda Davison in 1952 at the age of 19; the marriage lasted six months. Conran married his second wife, journalist Shirley Pearce, in 1955 with whom he had two sons – Sebastian and Jasper – before they divorced in 1962. Conran married his third wife, cookery writer Caroline Herbert, the following year. The marriage lasted for 33 years and produced three children – Tom, Sophie and Edmund – before ending in divorce in 1996. His youngest son Edmund, known as Ned, had problems with drug and alcohol abuse and was remanded to custody in a psychiatric unit in 2001 following a sexual assault on a tourist in London. He has since recovered and become a restaurateur.
The Kitchen Book. Crown Publishers, 1977.
The Bed and Bath Book. Crown Publishers, 1978. ISBN 0-517-53399-5.
The Cook Book. with Caroline Conran. Crown Publishers, 1980. ISBN 0517540185,.
The Vegetable Book. Crescent, 1984. ISBN 0517446456.
Terence Conran's New House book. Villard Books, 1985. ISBN 0-394-54633-4.
Terence Conran's plants at home. with Susan Conder. Conran Octopus, 1986. ISBN 1-85029-056-3.
Terence Conran's France. with Pierrette Pompon Bailhache, Maurice Croizard. Little, Brown, 1987. ISBN 0-316-15327-3.
Terence Conran's Home Furnishings. 1987. ISBN 5-551-98206-8.
Terence Conran's do-it-yourself with style. Simon & Schuster, 1989. ISBN 0671687190.
Tableware. with Jeremy Myerson, Sylvia Katz. Pub. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
Conran's Decorating with Plants. Smithmark Pub, 1990. ISBN 0-8317-2169-3.
Terence Conran's garden style, with John McGowan. Ed. Roger DuBern. Crown Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0517584638.
The Soft furnishings book. Conran Octopus, 1995.
The French Room: Simple French Style for Your Home. with Elizabeth Wilhide. Conran Octopus, 1995. ISBN 1-85029-825-4.
Terence Conran on design. Conran Octopus, 1996. ISBN 1-85029-771-1.
The Essential Garden Book (Co-authored with Dan Pearson), Three Rivers Press, 1998. ISBN 0-609-80022-1.
Terence Conran's Easy Living. Soma Books, 1999. ISBN 1-57959-045-4.
Terence Conran on restaurants. Overlook Press, 2000. ISBN 1585670456.
Terence Conran Small Spaces. Clarkson N Potter Publishers, 2001. ISBN 5-559-43946-0.
Kitchens: the hub of the home. Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-609-61052-X.
Bathrooms: just add water. Conran Octopus, 2004. ISBN 1-84091-357-6.
Designers on Design. with Max Fraser. Collins Design, 2005. ISBN 0060834102.
The Ultimate House Book: For Home Design in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Elizabeth Wilhide. Pub. Conran Octopus, 2006. ISBN 1-84091-468-8.
The Conran Cookbook. with Simon Hopkinson, Caroline Conran. Conran Octopus, 2007. ISBN 1-84091-496-3.
How to live in small spaces: design, furnishing, decoration, detail for the smaller home. Pub. Conran Octopus, 2007. ISBN 1-84091-473-4.
Storage: Get Organized. Conran Octopus, 2007. ISBN 1-84091-434-3.
Chef's Garden: Fresh Produce from Small Spaces. Conran Octopus, 2008. ISBN 1-84091-510-2,.
Terence Conran's Inspiration. with Stafford Cliff. Conran Octopus, 2009. ISBN 1-84091-494-7.
Essential Colour. Conran Octopus Publishing, London 2011, ISBN 978-1-84091-567-9.
new edition Eco House Book. Conran Octopus Publishing, London 2012, ISBN 978-1-84091-602-7.
Plain, Simple, Useful: The Essence of Conran Style. Conran Octopus Publishing, London 2014, ISBN 978-1-84091-655-3.
Terence Conran. by Nicholas Ind. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1996. ISBN 0-283-06294-0.
Terence Conran: Design and the Quality of Life by Elizabeth Wilhide. Watson-Guptill, 1999.
List of alumni of the Central School of Art and Design