Collection

Conran-style wicker cone chair

Collection:

Category: Furniture

Date: Circa 1950s

Designer: Terence Conran

Nationality of Designer: British

Manufacturer: Conran

Manufacturers Location: London, England (U.K)

Material: Wicker, metal

Dimensions: Height 70cm x Width 80cm x Depth 75cm

Purchase Price: donation

Abstract:

Cone wicker chair

Provenance:

The donor recalls purchasing it from Heals 

Adaptions/renovations:

None, reasonable condition - a few broken areas of weave.

Why it's in the Collection:

The 'cone' chair was one of Conran's earliest pieces and proved very popular in the time before Habitat was launched. 

As the founder of Habitat in London in 1964, Conran endorsed the modernist ideal of affordable quality furniture as well as William Morris's demand, fundamental to the Arts and Crafts movement, that a craftsman's work must be either 'beautiful or useful'. This now seems ironic as Habitat was been bought out by Ikea before being put into liquidation in 2011 with only three major stores still remaining. 

Wicker products formed a significant portion of Habitat's collection when it first launched. Useful, practical products which were cheap and not especially innovative seem an unlikely candidate to become new symbols of progressive design. Wicker weaving and basket making are traditional crafts stretching back thousands of years across the globe. 

About the Designer/Maker:

Terence Conran (b.1931) is a giant of post-war British design. While studying at the Central School of Art and Design, he started a workshop in the eastend of London making furniture with Edaurdo Paolozzi. After briefly working for architect Dennis Lennon, he forged his own buisness selling furniture and fitting out restaurants. He set up Conran Design Group in 1956 and quickly became a well-known name in a fashionable London scene of restaurateurs, stylists, artists and socialites. In 1964, the year after substantially expanding his operations, Conran opened Habitat in Chelsea, which positioned itself as affordable, practical living according to continental style. Habitat's success also led to Conran buying Heal's and integrating it into his business. 

About the Manufacturer:

Terrence Conran had been making furniture since the early fifties. In his Summa range, many items were flat pack, designed to be space-saving and damage-preventing - a little-acknowledged precedent to Ikea. His Habitat shops were set up to sell this range and market a range of continental homeware products to British consumers. British designers like Robin way were also enthusiastically championed by the brand. 

Bibliography & Further information

Terence talks