Sir Terence Conran: ‘Visionary’ designer dies at 88

Sir Terence Conran

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Sir Terence’s empire spanned restaurants, furniture and architecture

Sir Terence Conran, the British designer who revolutionised retail and decor, has died at the age of 88.

Best known as the founder of Habitat, he brought modern style and simplicity to UK homes in the 1960s and later helped found the Design Museum.

“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.”

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Sir Terence at the launch of the Swinging London exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in 2019

The statement added: “It gives us great comfort to know that many of you will mourn with us but we ask that you celebrate Terence’s extraordinary legacy and contribution to the country he loved so dearly.”

He “promoted the best of British design, culture and the arts around the world”, with “a very simple belief that good design improves the quality of people’s lives”.

Sir Terence started his career in the 1950s, but became a household name as one of the key designers of the swinging ’60s.

His empire would go on to span restaurants and architecture, but it was for his accessible and fashionable furniture, interiors and homeware that he remains best-known.

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Pictured in the Terence Conran Suite at Boundary in Shoreditch in 2009

He pioneered flat-pack furniture years before Ikea arrived on British shores, helping to lower the prices of his cutting-edge designs in his bid to “democratise good design”.

Design Museum director Tim Marlow led the tributes, saying it was “a privilege and an inspiration to know him”.

In a statement, Marlow wrote: “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.”

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