On 4 October Sebastian Conran Associates will reopen the doors of the west London premises it occupied in its former incarnation, before Conran merged his business with that of his father, Terence Conran, in late 1999.
Conran will leave behind the team of some 20 staff at Studio Conran, the product design, branding and graphics arm of Conran & Partners, established in May 2008. He is expecting to employ six people initially in his new venture and says he already has potential clients. He describes the new consultancy as handling ‘design and supply’, working with manufacturers and retailers like John Lewis, as he has done previously.
He says, ‘For some time I have been yearning to “do my own thing” like my brother Jasper and sister Sophie. Therefore, I am going to re-establish SCA in it’s original studios in west London with a completely new design team, initially focusing on product/industrial design and merchandise development.
‘I will remain a consultant and shareholder of Conran & Partners. I hope to continue to be involved in Conran Group and Studio Conran activities, and assisting with their business development,’ he adds.
Conran & Partners is expected to name his replacement as head of Studio Conran ‘in the autumn’. Roger Mavity, chief executive of the Conran Group, says, ‘We’re looking for someone who is a strong creative talent as a designer as well as a leader. The Conran name is a very powerful brand everywhere, but especially in design, so we expect we will attract the kind of talent we are looking for.’
Mavity says Studio Conran is key to the expansion of the Conran business and that the aim is to use the change in personnel to effect that. Studio Conran will continue to become increasingly independent within the Conran Group, he adds, and it already has its own board.
Until a new head is appointed, Terence Conran ‘will look more closely’ at the creative output, and Mavity has stepped in as chief executive. They are joined on the board by designer Tristram Keetch, Katy Clarke and finance director Liz Dunley.
- Recent Studio Conran projects include packaging with Spanish designer Javier Mariscal for The Conran Shop’s Well Considered homewares range, a set of kitchen knives for John Lewis, and interiors for Sealine luxury yachts
- Sebastian Conran will continue his role as head of the Design and Technology Alliance, which is focusing on designing out crime, among other initiatives. He will also continue as a member of the Design Council