Designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran dies aged 88

12 September 2020, 12:48 | Updated: 12 September 2020, 13:29

Sir Terence Conran and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured together at the opening of The Design Museum in London in 2016
Sir Terence Conran and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured together at the opening of The Design Museum in London in 2016. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Designer, retailer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran "passed away peacefully today at his Barton Court home aged 88", his family said in a statement.

The statement, released by the Design Museum, described Sir Terence as a "visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career that revolutionised the way we live in Britain".

It went on: "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.

"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.

"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.

"In his private life he was adored by his family and friends and we will miss him dearly.

"It gives us great comfort to know that many of you will mourn with us but we ask that you celebrate Terence's extraordinary legacy and contribution to the country he loved so dearly."

Tim Marlow, director and chief executive at the Design Museum, said: "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.
"It was a privilege and an inspiration to know him."

Lord Mandelson, chairman of the board of trustees at the Design Museum, said: "Terence Conran has filled our lives for generations with ideas, innovation and brilliant design.

"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 leaves a treasure trove of household and industrial design that will stay with us forever.

"And in the Design Museum which he conceived, inspired and drove, he has the most brilliant, enduring tribute and legacy.

"All of us at the museum will miss him terribly and never lose sight of what he believed in and what he has contributed to the UK story."

MP Barry Sheerman tweeted: "Terence Conran was a design legend as well as a brilliant entrepreneur I enjoyed working with him promoting design & young designer education with the Parliamentary Group on Design @Policy_Connect."