The death has been announced of UCA Honorary Professor Sir Terence Conran. Conran was widely regarded as a once-in-a-generation leader in retail, restaurants and design, and his impact and influence on life in the UK is hard to understate.
Beginning in the 1950s Conran’s eye for design and business acumen combined to change the lives of ordinary Britons after the Second World War. The launch of Habitat in the 1960s was the first, and arguably the most significant, of a range of retail ventures.
The Design Museum was one of his personal milestones. From founding the first Thames-side location in Bermondsey, he oversaw an ambitious recent move to the former Commonwealth Institute in west London, working with architect John Pawson to create a striking and spacious new home for the collections and exhibitions.
He also founded a successful architecture and design studio, Conran + Partners and three of his children have gone on to build their own successful careers in design – Sebastian (mainly in product and industrial design), Jasper (centred around fashion), and Sophie (focused on products for the home).
Speaking in 2012 when Conran received the honorary professorship, Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr, Vice Chancellor, said Sir Terence had "single-handedly changed this country's understanding of design and has changed modern life through his products, shops and restaurants".