Terence Conran, the founder of interior design chain Habitat, passed away at the age of 88. The British designer and businessman headed an empire that spanned everything from retail to restaurants.
Self-assembly before Ikea
Britain has lost an icon: the interior designer Terence Conran died at the age of 88. On the European mainland best known for his retail chain Habitat, in the UK Conran is seen as the man who first brought modern design to the island in the 1960s.
In 1964 the first Habitat shop opened its doors, where Conran introduced the British to furniture they could assemble themselves - even before Ikea. In this way he was able to offer budget-friendly modern design to a new generation of customers who wanted to break with the post-war uniformity. With the Conran Design Group, he also designed interiors and retail spaces for other companies.
Restaurants and books
Habitat expanded rapidly in the UK, after which the designer later took over the Mothercare and British Home Stores chains. Conran also established numerous other businesses, including The Conran Shop and a whole host of influential restaurants. He also wrote several books on food and design.
"He was a visionary who enjoyed an extraordinary life and career that revolutionised the way we live in Britain," says the family in an announcement. He "promoted the best of British design, culture and the arts around the world", with "a very simple belief that good design improves the quality of people's lives", quotes BBC.
Today, Habitat is partly French and partly British owned: the French group Cafom bought the company in 2011, but not the British stores. On the home market, the stores are owned by supermarket group Sainsbury's.