// Tributes paid to “visionary” Sir Terence Conran after death at 88
// He founded furniture retailer Habitat and also had an influence in Heal’s and Mothercare
// xHe also created furniture for M&S
Tributes have been paid to “visionary” designer and retail entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran who has died aged 88.
The Habitat founder was credited with bringing quality designs to the high street that “revolutionised the way we live in Britain”.
He died on Saturday at his 18th-century manor house home, Barton Court.
Born in Kingston upon Thames in 1931, Conran began his career making and selling furniture in London.
He went on to open restaurants across the capital before launching furniture retailer Habitat in 1964.
Other brands such as Heal’s and Mothercare have all been personally influenced by Conran, and he created furniture for Marks & Spencer and JC Penney.
Trustees at the Design Museum, which he founded, said he “leaves a treasure trove of household and industrial design that will stay with us forever”.
Chairman Lord Mandleson said: “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.”
Those sentiments were echoed by the Kensington museum’s director, Tim Marlow, who described the retailer as “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 said.
Conran’s family called him a “visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career”.
A statement released on Saturday afternoon said: “From the late ’40s 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.”
It 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.”
Sir Jony Ive, founder of LoveFrom and the chancellor of Royal College of Art, also paid tribute.
“There is no-one more responsible for the democratisation of design than Terence,” he said.
“We stand on his shoulders owing a mighty debt that can only be paid by honouring his dogged belief that form and function have to exist in balance, that simplicity has a unique beauty and that design is not a luxury but a necessity. He was my hero and my friend, already madly missed.”
His flare for business and design was shared by his family.
His sister Priscilla Carluccio helped to start the Carluccio’s cafe restaurant chain with her chef ex-husband Antonio Carluccio.
His five children – Sebastian, Jasper, Tom, Sophie and Ned – from his four marriages have each forged successful careers in the creative sector.
with PA Wires