Born in 1931, Sir Terence Conran founded the Habitat chain of stores that put good, modern design within reach of the general population. Through the merger of Habitat with Mothercare and the subsequent additions of Richard Shops, Heal’s, British Home Stores and Blazer, Conran created the retail group Storehouse, from which he retired in 1990. Habitat is now owned by the holding company that also owns Ikea.
In the 1990s, Conran built another group of companies involved in design, retailing, restaurants and hotels. Conran Holdings, of which he is chairman, started its life in 1990 managed out of an apartment at Butlers Wharf owning one restaurant, one shop and a design studio. It has grown into a business that today owns restaurants and shops in 10 cities throughout the world and employs over 2 000 staff.
In 1980 Conran established the Conran Foundation, a charitable fund dedicated to educating the public and British industry on the values of industrial design.
Terence is currently the Provost of the Royal College of Art in London and was awarded the Prince Philip Designer of the Year award in 2004 for his services to design.