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Sir Terence Conran was a British designer who revolutionised retail and decor; he died at the age of 88. Best known as the founder of Habitat, he brought modern style and simplicity to United Kingdom homes in the 1960s and later helped found the Design Museum.
Sir Terence Conran is perhaps best known for founding British furniture retail chain Habitat in the 1960s, which is widely credited with popularising modern continental European design in the UK, introducing novelties such as flatpack furniture and duvets.
Sir Terence Conran‘s empire would go on to span restaurants, architecture and household retail brands including Mothercare, but it was for his accessible and fashionable furniture, interiors and homeware that he remains best-known. Sir Terence Conran was heavily influenced by continental European styles and is credited with introducing duvets to Britain.
In 1948, Sir Terence Conrad enrolled at Central School of Art and Design – now incorporated as part of Central Saint Martins – to study textiles. However, he quit on the advice of his tutor, the artist and print-maker Eduardo Paolozzi, with whom he set up a furniture, ceramics and textiles workshop. By the time Conran & Company had morphed into the Conran Design Group, his stylish furniture was beginning to find favour with a new, upwardly mobile, metropolitan middle-class.
In 1964, he opened the first Habitat store on Fulham Road in Chelsea, London, with his wife at the time Caroline Herbert. The chain soon expanded with an outlet on London’s Tottenham Court Road, as well as stores in Manchester, Brighton and Glasgow within two years. Habitat furnishings and household goods were practical and elegant, distinguished by bright colours and copious use of pinewood.
Habitat offers unique and original designs, for almost all their products are made n the Habitat Design Studio. The designs are inspired in the world, be it textiles from India, rattan from Vietnam or even ceramics from Portugal, Habitat travels the globe to bring designs that are anything but ordinary.
A driven, often difficult man, Sir Terence Conran‘s revolutionary ideas for new and colourful designs coincided with the end of post-war austerity and the explosion in culture and art which typified the 1960s. A new generation of young and more affluent consumers was looking for something exciting and utterly unlike anything their parents had. Sir Terence Conran was on hand to provide it.
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