London's The Conran Shop was founded, along with a restaurant and design studio, by Sir Terence Conran in 1990 and it quickly galvanized the retail design scene. After Sir Terence retired, his son Jasper took the reins in 2012 and has been steadily reasserting the shop's dominance. (Sadly for Stateside customers, the US online shop remains closed, but stay tuned.) We posed a few questions to Jasper, on the occasion of the renovation and opening of The Conran Shop in Marylebone, which now sports a rooftop apartment, kitchen, and flower shop.
Dwell: Since taking the helm last year, what changes have you incorporated into the structure of the Conran company?
Jasper Conran: We have shaken up every area of the store and in every way by introducing thousands of new lines to make shopping at Conran a very special and pleasurable experience again. We want to make people wake up in the morning and want to come and visit us. The Conran Shop perhaps lost some of its fizz and swagger and we have to bring that back by filling it with special things you cannot buy anywhere else.
Dwell: What about the specific retail offerings? What new designers, studios, and companies have you brought in?
Jasper Conran: I really like the lights we have introduced by Charlotte Periand, whom I adore, and Le Corbusier. I’m very pleased to be selling beautiful furniture by the Italian designer Paola Navone. The way we are mixing vintage furniture with contemporary design classics creates a very dynamic look that is very much part of the Conran DNA. We have also brought back British design to The Conran Shop, which is very important to me personally and also to our country. Russell Pinch’s Imo stools, the Wardour Sofa, the Oswald Sofa and pottery by Sue Binns – they are all not just designed in the UK they are made here, too.
Dwell: How involved were you in the interior design of the Marylebone shop?
Jasper Conran: I was deeply involved in the design at every level including the windows, the selection of products and the way we display them and the Conran Apartment that takes over the entire top floor. I’m very hands on, and I’m most certainly a doer. What it means is our Marylebone store is a very personal edit that reflects the way I like to shop and how I like to live.
Kelsey Keith has written about design, art, and architecture for a variety of print and online publications.