The Philadelphia Museum of Art will salute Britain's best-known figure in design, home furnishing, and retailing during "Conran Style: An Evening with Sir Terence Conran," an award ceremony and lecture that will take place on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00 p.m. in the Van Pelt Auditorium. COLLAB, a group of design professionals who support the Museum's 20th-century design collections, will host the event. Sir Terence will receive Collab's 1998 Design Excellence Award in recognition of his enormous contributions to design around the world and for his work in founding Britain's Design Museum in 1989. Sir Terence will also give a slide talk on his work as an entrepreneur and designer. Tickets are $50.00 for Patrons (preferred seating), $5.00 for Museum Members, and $13.00 for non-Members. Reservations are required; call (215) 235-SHOW (7469).
Terence Conran has stated, "My belief is simply that if reasonable and intelligent people are offered something that is well made, well designed, of a decent quality, and at a price they can afford, then they will like it and buy it." This philosophy has propelled him from art student to industrial designer, furniture maker, international retailer, and founder/director of the largest design consultancy in Europe. The Conran Design Group handles retail, office, product, and graphic design projects throughout the world from offices in London, Paris and Hong Kong. His other major passion is the restaurants he has established, marrying the latest in Pacific Rim fusion cuisine or classic French and Mediterranean fare with the most elegant dining rooms in London.
When Conran opened his first Habitat store on Fulham Road in 1964, it instantly became a central component of "Swinging Sixties" London. Offering everything from furniture to lamps to tea towels, Habitat featured an ambiance in which the grayness of post-war Britain was discarded in favor of a more youthful and energetic style. With the first in a series of Conran Collection Shops opening on London's Circuit Street this year, he is poised to play the same role in the 21st century.
In conjunction with the Collab Award, the Museum will present Cool Britannia: Recent British Design Selected by Sir Terence Conran, on view from November 11, 1998 through March 7, 1999 in the Design Gallery 170 on the Museum's first floor. For this installation, Sir Terence has personally selected a variety of recent British cutting-edge designs. Included in Cool Britannia will be a stainless steel bathtub, a custom-made bicycle by Alex Moulton, an inflatable screen, a pair of soccer shoes, and a London Tube map made of tactile materials for blind and visually impaired riders.