What did you do during the war?

Designing a wartime garden as part of the Imperial War Museum’s VE/VJ Day celebrations has stirred up a few childhood memories for Sir Terence Conran.

During the Second World War he was just plain Terence, cowering under a dining-room table, sirens shrieking and tangible fear in the air. A long way from Habitat, Quags or AmEx commercials.

“I spent quite a lot of time under the table when I was five or six,” remembers Conran. “My parents eventually evacuated me to Portsmouth, which was then being used as a huge arms dump.”

He feels that the gloom of the wartime years had a positive effect on postwar design. “When I went to Central School of Art I was passionate about how design could affect the lives of many people – you don’t often find that passion nowadays”.

Perhaps getting back to the drawing board should also involve getting under the table – it certainly gave little Terence a profitable passion – not to mention a rather interesting perspective on furniture design.

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