Sir Terence Conran died quietly at home today at the age of 88. One of the most influential designers of the 20th century with a career spanning six decades, Conran was a key contributor to the irresistible momentum for cultural and social change, which eventually came to fruition in the 1960s amid the energy and excitement of Pop culture. “Conran eventually realised his vision of bringing the ‘Good life’ to Britain when he set up Habitat in 1964, a new type of lifestyle store, which, at its inception, had something of an egalitarian idealism about it,” Geoffrey Rayner wrote in ‘Conran/Quant: Swinging London – A Lifestyle Revolution’. Conran believed that everyone should be able to furnish their home well, and now, because of the movement he helped to foster, they can. He went on to found The Conran Shop, author numerous books on design, and founded London’s Design Museum, leaving an indelible mark on British culture.
“Considering Sir Terence Conran has supplied more people with more pieces of modern furniture than any other shopkeeper in history, one might have expected him to live in a modern house surrounded by nothing but modern objects,” House & Garden wrote in a story on his country home published in a 1984 issue. “In fact, Conran is one of the rare designer-manufacturers of our time whose passionate involvement with contemporary forms and materials has not eclipsed an abiding appreciation of earlier styles. Always ready to see how the convolutions and filigree canework of a nineteenth-century bentwood chair will look alongside a severely angular bedside table, or whether a gaudily brilliant kelim is a civil partner for a chrome ‘Arco’ lamp, Conran has been wholly consistent in exercising his talent for solving the challenge of combining the best of the past with the best of the present.”
“He was a visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career that revolutionised the way we live in Britain,” said a family statement. “He was adored by his family and friends and we will miss him dearly.”