It would be hard to exaggerate Terence Conran's influence on the way we think about design in Britain today. In a career spanning 60 years, the designer, retailer, restaurateur and property developer has had more of an impact than any other designer of his generation: he introduced us to flat pack furniture, helped transform the look of the British home with his shops Habitat and The Conran Shop, and established Britain's first museum dedicated to design, the Design Museum in London, where a major exhibition tracing his career opens next week.
Celebrating the his 80th birthday, Terence Conran: The Way We Live Now explores his considerable impact on the British design industry and his legacy, whilst also showing his design approach and inspirations.
The show traces his career from post-war austerity through to the new sensibility of the Festival of Britain in the 1950s, the birth of the Independent Group and the Pop Culture of the 1960s, to the design boom of the 1980s and on to the present day.
'No one has done more to change the way that Britain looks, or the way we look at things,' says Sudjic.
Conran is best known for Habitat, the furniture and interiors chain he founded in 1964 and which is credited with lifting British living rooms out of the gloom of post war austerity. Selling Conran's own furniture designs alongside others sourced form Europe, Habitat made designer furniture widely available to the British middle class for the first time.
With Stephen Bayley,, Conran co-founded the Boilerhouse Project a space in the V&A museum dedicated to contemporary design, and, later, the Design Museum near London's Tower Bridge. He continues to support the museum and recently pledged £17.5m to help it move from its current home to the former Commonwealth Building in Kensington.
Terence Conran: The Way We Live Now is on at the Design museum, Shad Thames, London, from 16 November to 4 March.