Exhibition Preview: Terence Conran The Way We Live Now @ the Design Museum

By Zoe Craig Last edited 81 months ago
Exhibition Preview: Terence Conran The Way We Live Now @ the Design Museum
Terence Conran circa 1950. Photo by Ray Williams
Terence Conran circa 1950. Photo by Ray Williams
Book Shelving Unit, by Terence Conran, 1963. Photo by John Maltby RIBA Library Photographic Collection
Book Shelving Unit, by Terence Conran, 1963. Photo by John Maltby RIBA Library Photographic Collection
The Orrery Bar originally published in Architecture and Building, March 1955. Courtesy of University of Brighton Design Archives
The Orrery Bar originally published in Architecture and Building, March 1955. Courtesy of University of Brighton Design Archives
Carafe, Royal Doulton, designed by Terence Conran. Beautiful
Balance Alcove Shelving, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection. Want.
Balance Alcove Shelving, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection. Want.
Matador Chair and Footstool in brown leather, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection.
Matador Chair and Footstool in brown leather, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection.
59th Street Sofa in grey black, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection
59th Street Sofa in grey black, designed by Terence Conran. Conran Collection
Terence Conran. Photo by Neil Wilder. Are those M&S socks, do you think?
Terence Conran. Photo by Neil Wilder. Are those M&S socks, do you think?

Happy Birthday Terence Conran. The Design Museum near Tower Bridge is celebrating the designer's (and restaurateur and retailer) 80th birthday with a major new exhibition dedicated to his work.

The Way We Live Now will examine Conran’s achievements alongside his approach to design and his inspirations. The exhibition traces his career from the post-war austerity and the Festival of Britain in the 1950s, through Carnaby Cool and the Pop Culture of the Swinging 60s, through Habitat to Conran Holdings in the 70s and 80s, to the redesign of the Concord Room at JFK airport, Mothercare pushchairs, creating Heals and Next, and various other impressively successful diversions.

The show also promises a big nod to the talented designers commissioned by Conran, and to Conran’s role in professionalising the design industry.

Conran’s influence on the world of food makes up another part of the show. This is the guy behind Mezzo, Bluebird, Quaglino’s, Boundary and Le Pont de la Tour, don’t forget.

You can also get an insight into the great man's private working life as the exhibition features a recreation of Conran's study from his home in Barton Court.

It’s nice of the Design Museum to run a big blockbuster show dedicated to the guy who set up the museum in the first place; and who has donated around £50m to the various incarnations of the same museum over the last 30 years. And The Way We Live Now is sponsored by M&S, who Conran has just partnered with, designing an exclusive home collection for the company. Our minds boggle slightly about whose money is (or isn’t) going where in this case: all we definitely know is that it’ll cost you about a tenner to see the show. And if you’re a Conran fan, you’ll probably love it.

Terence Conran The Way We Live Now is on at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, Bermondsey, London, SE1 2YD from 16 November until 4 March next year. Tickets cost £10 for adults; £9 for concessions and £6 for students. Under 12s get in free. Visit designmuseum.org to find out more.

Last Updated 11 November 2011