Habitat Loss Posted on 13 Sep 10:30
With the Habitat stores, Sir Terence took his own design practice and furniture making skills, and almost singlehandedly dragged the UK public into the modern world. As The Beatles released 'A Hard Days Night' and Sean Connery hit the screens as James Bond for the third time in 'Goldfinger' the first Habitat store opened in Chelsea in 1964.
London was beginning to swing, and Sir Terence brought good design to the High Street. A simple brief - functional, practical, well made household products - was taken to another level by making things (carefully) that looked great too.
His ambitions took him into other retail endeavours, into the world of restaurants, whilst always maintaining his own architectural and interior design consultancy. The Britain that was being forged by Conran and others in the mid 1960's was also a partial inspiration for Paper Tiger.
Our sister business Studio One was founded here in Edinburgh in 1966, initially selling furniture handmade by our founder John Johnson, whose own experiences continue to shape the design ethics and narratives of our Paper Tiger stores.
Studio One became an Edinburgh institution, with cook shops, record shops, soft furnishings stores, and eventually Paper Tiger as a separate business. The legacy continues today at Studio One Furniture in Morningside, and of course with us.
Habitat still trades on, now just another famous brand name passed on from one investment company to another venture capitalist. Whilst they still occasionally have something to catch my eye, the excitement and the passion left the building a long time ago. Sir Terence Conran was a one off, a retail magician, a design guru, and a visionary who inspired a generation to change how we live today.