The veteran designer and trustee turns 80 this year and what better way to celebrate than an exhibition of his work and all that he’s inspired? It’s no mean feat considering Conran’s sphere of influence encompasses just about everything design since the 50’s. He’s most regarded for starting a design studio, an architectural practice that worked across the globe and being the co-founder of the influential home store Habitat. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the exhibition proves. Off the back of Habitat, Conran acquired an extensive range of high street stores such as Heal’s, BHS, Mothercare – and even had a hand in designing the Concord Room at JFK airport. Add to that his work on the interior of Heathrow Terminal 1, revolutionising restaurant design and opening iconic restaurants across the globe from Paris, London to New York, and it’s obvious Conran’s quite The Man.
Pretty much everything you see is touched by the talent of this national treasure, both in house and out – and for those who don’t know, this exhibition should set them straight. It will also give an insight into the mind of a design genius with a re-creation of his home study and examples of his design legacy through the work of students who have won his prestigious Conran Foundation Royal College of Art Award. Co-curated by the Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic and author and former creative director at the Conran Group Stafford Cliff, The Way We Live is definitely not to be missed. (Words: Laura Thornley)