Sir Terence Conran Timeline
The Design Museum mourns the loss of its founder, visionary designer Sir Terence Conran.
This is his incredible contribution over time.
My Life in Design by Sir Terence Conran can be purchased from the Design Museum Shop
1931 Born in Kingston upon Thames
1948 Enrolled in Central School of Arts & Crafts
1949 Shared a studio in London’s East End with Eduardo Paolozzi. Began making furniture
1950 On the advice of his tutor leaves course at Central to work for architect Dennis Lennon. In the evenings he works on window displays in Simpsons, Piccadilly
1952 Opens Conran & Company from a basement in Notting Hill, selling furniture from a showroom in Piccadilly Arcade
1953 Opens Soup Kitchen in Chandos Place, inspired by the elegant simplicity of affordable restaurants in France at the time. It housed the second Gaggia coffee machine in London
1954 Opens Orrery restaurant on Kings Road
1955 Started Conran Fabrics
1956 Set up Conran Design Group, designing among other things a store for Mary Quant in Knightsbridge
1963 Moved his operations to 40,000 square foot factory in Thetford, Norfolk, taking 80 staff and their families with him
1964 Habitat opens on Fulham Road in Chelsea with staff in uniforms by Mary Quant and hair styled by Vidal Sassoon
1965 Habitat opens second branch on Tottenham Court Road
1966 Habitat opens further branches in Manchester, Brighton and Glasgow
1968 Merges company to form Ryman Conran
1970 Neal Street Restaurant opens, which until its closure was run by Terence’s sister Priscilla and her husband, Antonio Carluccio. Conran Associates replaces Conran Design Group
1973 Habitat’s largest branch opens on Kings’ Road and first branch of Conran shop opens on site of original Habitat store
1974 Publication of House Book by Mitchell Beazley
1976 Opens Habitat shop in Citicorp building in Manhattan under the name Conran
1980 Conran Foundation set up, dedicated to educating the public and British industry on the value of industrial design. Habitat becomes a public company.
1981 Boilerhouse (the initial incarnation of the Design Museum) opens at the V&A. As Chairman of Hepworths, uses his position on the board of a menswear chain to develop Next. Buys 11-acre site at Butlers Wharf for redevelopment
1982 Purchased Mothercare; launch of Habitat Basics so popular in Japan that Seibu (the department store that franchised the line) developed the ‘no brand’ formula to create MUJI.
1983 Receives his knighthood to become Sir Terence Conran
1985 Conran Octopus created with Paul Hamlyn to produce educational but inspiring books about interiors, gardening and cookery
1986 Boilerhouse closes at V&A to begin renovation of Shad Thames site; Habitat-Mothercare merges with British Home Stores and rebranding begins to become BhS. Benchmark furniture-making company set up in the grounds of his home in Berkshire.
1987 Buys the Michelin Building in Fulham Road and refurbishes it to become home for the Conran Shop, Octopus publishing and Bibendum restaurant
1989 Design Museum opens at Butlers Wharf
1990 Retires from Storehouse, sets up Conran Holdings from an apartment in Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf
1991 Conran Restaurants set up. Design company Conran Roche becomes CD partnership.
1994 Conran Shop opens in Shinjuku Park Tower in Tokyo
1999 Conran Shop opens in New York underneath the 59th Street Bridge, along with the restaurant Guastavino’s. Merges CD Partnership with Sebastian Conran Associates to form Conran & Partners, or C&P
2000 Opening, in partnership with Wyndham International, of London’s Great Eastern Hotel which became one of London’s most successful hotels
2003 Named Provost for the Royal College of Art. Starts developing the Conran Collections, a series of brand licensed products that reflect his lifelong philosophy to bring good quality, contemporary homewares to a wider audience. Ranges now include Bed by Conran, Light by Conran, Terence Conran by Royal Doulton, Content by Conran and Vision by Conran
2004 Awarded Prince Philip Designer of the Year award for services to design. Conran & Partners complete work on Roppongi Hills, a new urban quarter in the heart of Tokyo, created by the Mori Building Company.
2006 Conran restaurants renamed D&D London but Conran Holdings maintains a 51% stake in the business. Sells Great Eastern Hotel to Hyatt Hotels
2007 Launches range of cookware for Royal Doulton. Becomes an honourary Doctor of Science at Southbank University.
2012 Design Museum Exhibition: Terence Conran - The Way We Live Now from 16 November 2011 - 4 March 2012. Awarded The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy which celebrates the impact of givers to the arts and won the Lifetime Achievement medal at the London Design Festival
2016 Sir Terence Conran cuts the ribbon to open the new Design Museum in Kensington High Street on 24 November. Awarded the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen’s Honours List.
2017 the Design Museum welcomes 780,000 visitors in its opening year.
2019 Opens the first and largest Conran Shop in Seoul, South Korea