THE BLUEBIRD STORE, LONDON
Sir Terence Conran is a designer and entrepreneur whose empire of shops and restaurants includes London's Bluebird restaurant and his eponymous Conran Shop. Conran's career is based on a belief, demonstrated particularly with the setting up of Habitat in the sixties, of the importance of good affordable design in everyday life. Fond of quoting William Morris's dictum: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." He is the recipient of many design awards.
Terence has exerted a
powerful influence over the way we prepare and eat our food at home, and
the way we eat in public for over 40 years. His first effort at selling food to the masses was the famous Soup
Kitchen of the 1950s which was inspired, like much of his work, by
French farmhouse cooking. His later mass design and retailing
experiments at Habitat changed the way we viewed our kitchens and
ushered in the opportunity to use well-designed, affordable and
Terence Conran was born in Esher 4 October 1931 and from an early age he
made things, constructing model ships and yachts in a little woodworking
shop. Owing to a childhood illness he spent six months away from school,
passing the time making doll's house furniture.
After falling in love with French food whilst on holiday in the country
he set about opening his own restaurant, The Soup Kitchen, in 1953,
which had the distinction of having the second espresso machine in the
capital. He sold the business a few years later but didn't rest on his laurels
setting up the Conan Design Group and opening the first open air
restaurant, The Orrery in King's Road.
1952 - Terence set up his own furniture-making business, which started in a basement studio in London's Notting Hill.
1956 - The Conran Design Group was founded, initially as an ancillary business to the furniture-making group. Over the next 35 years, it grew to be one of the largest design consultancies in Europe.
1964 - Terence's career in retailing began in 1964 when he opened the first Habitat on Fulham Road. Habitat was the first shop to identify its products and its image as part of a wider ethos.
1973 - With 18 branches of Habitat open in the UK and plans for the first Habitat abroad (in France), Terence opened The Conran Shop at 77 Fulham Road, the site of the original Habitat.
The first French Habitat. Tour Montparnasse,
1974 - Terence Conran's The House Book was published with huge success. The book began as an in-house training manual for Habitat staff, but quickly grew to become a complete guide to planning and designing the home.
1983 - Habitat/Mothercare embarked on a joint publishing venture with Octopus Books under the name Conran Octopus. The company produces books about interior design, cookery, gardening, crafts and decorative arts, broadly reflecting Terence's design philosophy and style. Terence Conran was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's Honours.
1986 - Habitat and Mothercare merged with British Home Stores to create a new parent company, Storehouse PLC, of which Terence became Chairman and Chief Executive.
- As part of the regeneration of Butlers Wharf, on the south bank of the
Thames, Terence launched the Blue Print Café on the first floor of the
building that houses the Design Museum. The Museum was the first
in the world to be dedicated to the promotion and examination of design.
Conran retires from Storehouse and Habitat is sold. Upon his retirement
from Storehouse, he bought back The Conran Shop.
1993 - Terence formed a new design consultancy, CD Partnership, by the amalgamation of Conran Roche with a team of interior designers.
- Terence opened the BLUEBIRD RESTAURANT,
350 Kings Road, SW3 5UU
1999 - Early December saw the opening of The Terence Conran Shop in New York as part of the Bridgemarket redevelopment under the 59th Street Bridge.1999 CD Partnership changes its name to Conran & Partners.
2000 - Guastavino's and Club Guastavino opened as part of the group's presence in the renovated Bridgemarket development in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Great Eastern Hotel opened, a joint venture between Conran and Wyndham International. Following the success of the current restaurants in London, Zic Bar & Grill opens in Manchester.
2001 - Conran Restaurants opens a Zinc Bar & Grill in both Birmingham and Edinburgh. Terrence Conran Q&A is published to celebrate his 70th birthday. Almeida restuarant and bar opens, bringing delicious, robust French food to Islington.
2002 - A new Conran Shop opens in Marunouchi, Japan, reflecting the same passion for elegance, modern furniture and home accessories as the London stores. Senso restaurant opens in Paris. Zinc Bar & Grill opens is Fulham
2003 - Future projects include two new restaurants in London: The Royal Exchange building and Canary Wharf. Also, Zinc Bar & Grill opens in Glasgow.
100 % norske i London
Midt på supertrendy Hoxton Square gir Norge sitt elegante bidrag til Londons internasjonale designuke. - Renhet, integritet og ærlighet beskriver det jeg ser her, sa den britiske designerguruen Sir Terence Conran da han åpnet 100% Norway.
Det er ikke hvem som helst som får legenden Terence Conran til å kaste glans. Briten regnes som en av verdens største nålevende designere, og har skrevet en rekke bøker om design. I tillegg eier han en kjede av møbelforretninger og restauranter.
Det er ingen tilfeldighet at Conran identifiserer seg med norsk design. Han hentet selv mye inspirasjon fra Skandinavia på 1950- og 60-tallet. Akkurat nå føler jeg at det er en innovativ holdning i Skandinavia, og spesielt Norge, sa Conran til Aftenposten etter åpningen.
Jeg ser en renhet i uttrykket, en antikynisk holdning. Jeg kan øyeblikkelig se at dette er norsk, og jeg har et godt nok trenet øye til å se forskjellene på svensk, norsk og dansk design. Den skandinaviske flyten er viktig, den generelle kraften i det dere gjør.
you require further information and detail on any of the Conran
businesses, please contact the relevant people:
Conran Shop Press:
BLUEBIRD GARAGE HERITAGE
Bluebird Garage, at 330-350 King's Road, Chelsea, London, is a Grade II listed building that is now a noted Conran restaurant and retail space, but which had its origins as a noted Art Deco garage complex built for the Bluebird Motor Company, which had connections with Sir Malcolm Campbell.
The garage was built for the Bluebird Motor Company in 1923, designed to the very latest style by the architect Robert Sharp. At the time of its completion the garages were claimed to be the largest in Europe. At 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2), there was room for 300 cars in the main garage, a further 7,000 sq ft (650 m2) was given over to workshops. On either side of the garage two further buildings contained lounges and writing rooms. The lounges were segregated for ladies, owners and chauffeurs.
The land speed record breaker Malcolm Campbell was connected with the Bluebird garage, initially holding the franchise for Itala and Ballot cars. He raced both of these marques, using this hobby as a form of advertising. In 1925 he also became the agent for the newly founded Chrysler company. As a racing driver he was less than impressed with Chrysler and imposed upon his long-suffering mechanic Leo Villa to wring just enough speed out of it to put up an impressive show at Brooklands.
One of Campbell's maxims was, "Never trade with your own money. Always use that of others", which he demonstrated when the Bluebird garage folded in 1927. The shareholders (of whom Campbell wasn't one) lost their whole investment. He repeated this with another garage at St. James's in the 1930s, again losing none of his own money whilst the backers lost £25,000. His own racing garage at Brooklands, the 'Campbell Shed' paid for from his own pocket, was more successful.
In later years the building was used as an ambulance station.
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