Self-isolation has given me time to reflect on the importance of Terence Conran and how his influence has changed and developed over time. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Habitat: food bricks, duvets and woks. There was a branch near us outside Didcot and we arranged our wedding list there in 1979. In the early 1980s, it was the Boilerhouse Project, now perhaps not as well remembered as it deserves to be – a catalyst of changing attitudes to design and modernism in the basement of the V&A, funded by the Conran Foundation. In 1989, it was the Design Museum in Butler’s Wharf – more formal, perhaps a bit less adventurous than the Boilerhouse. In the early 1990s, it was the move into restaurants – Pont de la Tour and the Blueprint Café. Always important in influencing public taste, not least Cool Britannia, which was hatched in Pont de la Tour and celebrated in Canary Wharf with catering supplied by Conran. Nor should one forget the Conran Shop. A figure of immense importance in moulding public taste, including mine.
6 thoughts on “Terence Conran”
I so loved the Boilerhouse Project. As a young textiles student in the early ’80s it was so exciting. I think it was probably the first place that I saw Memphis designs. I was trying to explain just the other day – in the context of the upcoming Memphis exhibition at the Milton Keynes Gallery – just how radical that all seemed. So many legacies.
Best wishes with your continued countdown to liberation from isolation. In earlier life I spent some time in a convent where people would come to stay to do 40 day silent Ignatian retreats. Some people coped better than others!
Dear Joan, Yes, 14 days is a surprisingly long time ! I’m glad you remember the Boilerhouse Project fondly, as do I. Charles
Terence Conran gave me half the money for a wonderful Peter Randall Page sculpture at St Saviours Dock. Very straightforward and easy to deal with if a bit brusque (with me anyway). But he was very generous and took me in to show me around his amazing flat opposite mine on St Saviours Dock. He had an extraordinarily huge box of big fat cigars
Yes, big on cigars, smoking them to the end. Charles
Stephen Bayley’s obit of the late Sir Terence in the Guardian is pointed, sympathetic and (from what very little I know) accurate.
Dear Chris, Yes, unexpectedly more balanced than I expected. Charles