A Toast To Terence


As news of Sir Terence Conran’s passing permeates around the world, the industry has paid its respects to the visionary mentor, leader and philanthropist.

Speaking on behalf of the interior design and architecture studio Sir Terence founded in 1956, Tina Norden, studio partner, comments: “This is a very sad moment for us all at Conran and Partners, in particular for those of us who worked so closely with Terence for many years. We are determined to keep following his ethos of making good design a part of everyone’s life, designing contemporary buildings and spaces focused on the needs and aspirations of the end-user, with a clear narrative, a practical understanding and a sense of place for each project.

“Despite the challenges of the current environment, Terence leaves us at a point when Conran and Partners has a very bright future ahead. From a practical perspective, it does not change how the company will be run or is owned, we will continue as we have been over the last years and keep fighting for the things that he believed in. He will leave a very big gap in our lives, he was a mentor and an inspiration – many happy memories will keep his spirit alive.”

Simon Kincaid, studio partner, adds: “He was a huge inspiration for us all and will be greatly missed!”

Having co-founded the Design Museum in London during the 1980s – which started as the Boilerhouse at the V&A Museum – Sir Terence was a source of inspiration for many of the capital’s wider design community too.

Tim Marlow, Director and Chief Executive, Design Museum, says: “Terence Conran was instrumental in the re-designing of post-war Britain and his legacy is huge. He is revered by generations of designers, from Mary Quant and David Mellor to Thomas Heatherwick and Jonny Ive.

“He changed the way we lived and shopped and ate. He also created a great institution – the Design Museum – of which he was justifiably proud and with which he remained fully engaged right to the end of his extraordinary life. It was a privilege and an inspiration to know him.”

The British designer also left his mark on the F&B world, launching Conran Restaurants back in 1991. And though the group was renamed D&D London 15 years later, Sir Terence’s legacy certainly still lives on.

“Sir Terence had a huge impact on how Britons lived for many decades. Firstly, with the founding of Habitat and then with Conran Restaurants – which became D&D in 2006,” D&D wrote on Instagram. “Terence was a true bon viveur; a man of great charm and passion. He was not just the founder and Chairman of Conran Restaurants, but someone who became a friend and mentor to D&D founders Des Gunewardena and David Loewi, as well as many leading chefs and restauranteurs in Britain today.”

Countless other friends, colleagues and associates have also taken to social media to send their condolences.

“A tragic loss for us all. A true patron of the visual arts, design, furniture, house, home, lighting and office environments, as well as a gifted culinary visionary,” said fellow visionary Ian Schrager. “He did it before anybody else. He took the pretension out of design the way Andy Warhol took the pretension out of art. I was honoured to call him a friend!”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Mainwaring, former Business Development Manager at Conran and Partners, wrote: “I’ve always been in awe of people born with a curious mind, a fire in their belly and a gleam in their eye. The kind of people that have so much self-belief and determination that they will make a success of an impossible idea, even when everyone around them is laughing.

“Sir Terence Conran was all of this. He revolutionised the way we live in Britain and impacted our daily lives in ways most of us probably don’t even realise. He bulldozed the critics and change the way we live for the better, always whilst smoking a massive cigar.

“Working for Conran and Partners certainly changed my life for the better. It opened my eyes to the world of design and showed me that somethings it’s the little decisions that make the biggest impact. Some of the happiest years of my life were spent with my friends at Shad Thames.

“So thank you, Sir Terence, for living your best life and in doing so improving the lives of the rest of us.”

Over the next few days, in our own tribute to Sir Terence, we’ll be looking back at some of his most iconic hotel projects, as well as how his interior design and F&B ventures paved the way for boutiques in the UK.

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