Terence Conran – The Way We Live Now

Marking Sir Terence Conran’s 80th birthday the Design Museum are showing a major exhibition which takes a look at his impact and influence on British life and design with The Way We Live Now.

The exhibition follows Conran’s career from his childhood growing up in post-war Kingston-upon-Thames through to his life as a designer, retailer, restauranteur, and all round entrepreneur.

Examples of his philosophy and design works are on show, elegantly summed up as “plain, simple and useful”.  It echoes the sentiment of the principles of good design by Dieter Rams who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest designers we’ve seen.

Evidence of Conran’s work process is on display too.  Numerous iterative prototypes and models refine the ergonomics and form to something beautifully simple and well designed.

As well as a good collection of some previously unseen work from his days at habitat.

As a designer this quote was particularly inspiring to read.  Why should somebody else have to work out how to make your design?  If you don’t know, then it’s probably either too complicated, or not yet finished.

Conran’s own office has also been painstakingly recreated here, over 1000 items show off a duplicate work environment that Conran uses, from photos and books to his desk and chair.  An insight into how he likes to work, and a real presenting touch that highlights even design heroes such as he are human too.

Terence Conran founded the Design Museum back in 1989 and his continual support of it was demonstrated last year when he gifted almost £18m to help fund the planned move of the museum to a new site in Kensington.  A sneak preview of the building and site can be seen.

The exhibition runs until 4th March, so if you’re down near Shad Thames in the next few weeks it’s well worth a visit.


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