Conran to launch affordable range

Terence Conran will re-enter the mass furniture market in the new year through a deal with the UK’s largest furniture manufacturer, Christie-Tyler, to bring ‘aspirational but accessible’ products to the high street.

Content by Conran, a joint venture between Conran Group and the Bridgend-based company, is pitched as a ‘total living concept’ to rival continental European brands like Ligne Roset and B&B Italia. Conran is the ‘mentor’ on the project, with design and branding applied by Conran & Partners.

Four collections, the country-themed Coastal, City, Town and the ‘edgier’ Loft, comprising 70 items in total, will be unveiled to the trade on 20 January 2003 at The Furniture Show in Birmingham. A consumer launch is planned for March 2003.

C&P associate product designer Mark Hales worked closely with Conran on the wood and upholstery furniture, as well as textile-based accessories such as rugs, cushions and throws. C&P graphic designer Jonathan Peak has created the deep-red and pebble-grey brand marque and wallpaper-style imagery for brochures (pictured) and carrier bags.

C&P creative director Sebastian Conran says, ‘It’s high street pricing with Conran values. [The ranges] differ from Habitat furniture in that they are less fashion-oriented and more timeless.’

Christie-Tyler design director Sally Smith says the brand will undercut its competitors by around 30 per cent.

Key independent retailers and major store groups will be invited to stock Content by Conran, which fills what Smith perceives as a ‘modern/contemporary’ product gap in the manufacturer’s offer.

‘We instinctively feel that the British consumer is ready for this,’ she adds. ‘[But] we knew we needed a brand to carry it, something recognisable with a stamp of authority. [Conran] was an obvious catch.’

Christie-Tyler chief executive James Benfield approached Conran initially to revamp the company’s own G-Plan brand. However, a deal was struck in March to develop a new offer, with first concepts presented in May.

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