Sir Terence Conran, the “visionary” British designer, retailer and restaurateur, has died aged 88.
The Habitat founder, known for bringing modern Scandinavian style and simplicity to UK homes, “passed away peacefully” at home on Saturday.
Sir Terence began his career making and selling furniture in London before going on to launch the interior design chain in 1964, later helping found the Design Museum.
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In a statement released on Saturday, his family said: “A proud patriot, Sir Terence promoted the best of British design, culture and the arts around the world and at the heart of everything he did was a very simple belief that good design improves the quality of people’s lives.”
The statement went on: “From the late forties to the present day, his energy and creativity thrived in his shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels and through his many design, architecture and furniture making businesses.
“Founding The Design Museum in London was one of his proudest moments and through its endeavours he remained a relentless champion of the importance of education to young people in the creative industries.”
Hailing him as a “visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career”, his family added: “Sir Terence enjoyed a remarkable life to the full and always maintained that his work never felt like a job – everything he did for business he would have done for pleasure.”
Design Museum director Tim Marlow said it was “a privilege and an inspiration to know him”.
In a statement, he 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.”
Giant of the swinging ’60s
The Design Museum said it would celebrate Sir Terence’s life, career and contribution to the museum with a commemorative display and memory book for the public to sign.
Lord Mandelson, the chairman of the board of trustees at the Design Museum, said Sir Terence “leaves a treasure trove of household and industrial design that will stay with us forever”.
“He is one of the most iconic figures of post-war Britain, starting to recast the world of design when as a young man he joined the team working on the 1951 Festival of Britain and never stopping from that moment on,” he added.
Sir Terence started his career in the late 1940s, but rose to fame as one of the era-defining designers of the swinging ’60s.
His business empire went on to cover restaurants, architecture and chains including Mothercare, as well as the accessible and fashionable furniture, interiors and homeware for which he was renowned.
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