In the run-up to the event this week discussing the impact of Terence Conran on design in the UK, we find out from Conran himself what his driving ethos has been

Neil Wilder Terence Conran portrait
Neil Wilder
Terence Conran portrait

I’m a plain, simple and practical sort of fellow and also somewhat rather shy so to have my career celebrated with five inspirational people talking about my life at the wonderful Tate Modern, followed by an exhibition at the Design Museum is very humbling for me.

I have spent a colourful lifetime in design – printing textiles, making furniture, retailing home furnishings, clothes, baby and children’s products, designing, opening and running restaurants cafés, bars and hotels. Our design group has designed everything from skyscrapers to cottages and interiors for anything from airport terminals and department stores to small shops and cafes. I have been closely involved with the design of practically every project over the years as either the conceptual or lead designer although it is the quality of the team around me that must take a large part of the praise for our success over many years.

I hope I have remained true to my fundamental aim throughout my life – to produce useful things at a price that most people can afford. Such things may not win design prizes but neither do they go out of fashion. I have always believed that if products or buildings or interiors are intelligently designed they will help improve the quality of life of the users.

I hope this doesn’t sound too pompous and that, like me, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the night at the Tate Modern while other people do all the work. I just hope the speakers – all inspirations in their own right – go easy on me!

Terence Conran



reminds me of a joke Alexi Sayle used to tell...."ye know them lamps that you throw away when ye stop bein' a shtoodent "......