British Knight and design guru receives honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria

Posted on August 21, 2012

This British knight, born in 1931, is one of world’s best-known designers, restorers and retailers. In 1956 he founded the Conran Design Studio. This was followed in the 1960s and 1970s by the establishment of the Habitat chain of home-furnishing stores, which revolutionised the British high streets by bringing intelligent, modern design within reach of the general population.

In 1980, he founded Conran Roche, a new architecture practice. The firm undertook the renovation of some of London’s iconic landmarks, including Michelin House, Butler’s Wharf and the Bluebird Garage on King’s Road. He also founded the Design Museum, a towering neo-Brutalist home for British design in Butler’s Wharf.

The honorary doctorate from UP was conferred upon Sir Terence specifically in recognition of his contribution to the knowledge and practice of the discipline of interior design. Of particular importance to UP is the fact that he was an exponent of the multi-disciplinary approach to design, a model adopted by the Department of Architecture at UP.

In the 1990s, Sir Terence set up Conran Holdings, which consists of a group of new designers, retailers and architects from across the world. The company takes on a diverse range of products, brands, and interior and interactive design work that adheres to a core philosophy, namely that intelligent design improves people’s quality of life.

Sir Terence designs furniture for numerous stores and has written over 30 informative books that broadly reflect his design philosophy. Over 20 million copies of his publications have been sold worldwide. Until recently, he was the Provost of the Royal College of Art and he is an honorary professor of the University for the Creative Arts.

To celebrate Sir Terence’s 80th birthday in 2011, the Design Museum held a major retrospective exhibition to create awareness of his contribution to British design. “The Way We Live Now” drew on 60 years of his design work.

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