Notes: Deyan Sudjic on Sir Terence Conran RIP


Sir Terence Conran
Sir Terence Conran

Deyan Sudjic on the late Sir Terence Conran on Last Word, BBC Radio 4, September 18th, 2020

  • He said that “Unless a designer really knows how to make something, they can’t really say they have finished designing it”
  • He was a war baby, or the age of austerity. First experience at the Festival of Britain. He was driven by a generous spirit: he loved finding new things and sharing them with people.
  • He said he changed Britain’s eating habits, and sex lives by bringing the duvet from Scandinavia
  • ‘He created the idea, which now seems commonplace, that going out for a meal wasn’t a functional transaction but a chance to take part in a shared urban experience, like the grand cafés of Paris or Vienna, and he created a series of very theatrical restaurants’
  • When the main business floated on the stock market he was motivated by the desire to give something back. When he had some free capital he thought it was a great time to invest some organisation or institution which could provide a permanent place in which design could become something the wider public could see, not confined to design specialists or the priesthood of design. With Stephen Bayley he went to the V&A to setup the Boilerhouse Project, which reminded us all the design is not all about the past, but where we are moving forward to.
  • ‘He did more than most people to show that design is more than peripheral, or frivolous, or on the edge of things but that design is a way of looking at the world, of understanding that it is not just about things but the people who make them and how people use them’
  • ‘None of it at all is about money. I have never been interested in money for its own sake in my life. I am interested in doing things, and to do things you have to have money and make money’ – Sir Terence Conran
  • ‘Margaret Thatcher saw the importance of design and that establishing the Design Museum was being done for the good of the country’ – Sir Terence Conran


Published by Nico Macdonald

Communication, facilitation and consultancy around design and technology

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