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Interview: Sophie Conran

House Home Photo Portrait Sophie Conran Designer

Sophie Conran dishes up tableware that is the essence of great taste in this interview from our November 2008 issue. For more on Sophie Conran, see her design favourites.

Never mind a silver spoon, designer Sophie Conran was practically born with a baking tray in her hand. Her father is British designer Sir Terence Conran, founder of the U.K.-based Habitat stores. Her mother is noted food writer Caroline Conran, and her siblings enjoy a similar pedigree, counting artist, designer and restaurateur among their credits. Conran breathed great food and design her entire life, so it's no surprise that after stints as a designer and chef, she launched a celebrated collection of tableware for Portmeirion. The simple, elegant lines of her porcelain pieces are the essence of good form and function. As a child, Conran scuttled between her father's design studio and her mother's kitchen. Now the mother of two young children herself, she says of her parents: "These two incredible pillars have provided the inspiration for my current blend of food and design."

House & Home: Describe what you like most about your home.

Sophie Conran: It's where I spend most of my favourite time puttering about with my kids or relaxing with a friend. It's multifunctional and has different moods in different areas; the kitchen is fun and bright (with bright pink walls), while the bedroom is tranquil.

H&H: How would you describe your sense of style?

SC: I think I am a little eccentric. I believe in making environments practical, comfortable, inspiring and creative. I like to play with scale and perception to add a little humour.

H&H: Are you a collector of anything?

SC: Antique kitchen equipment. I’ve always rummaged around in antique shops and must have started collecting bits and bobs from about the age of 12. I have to limit myself as I’m running out of space.

H&H: Describe your perfect vacation getaway.

SC: For me, a family holiday in the south of France is ideal. We visit food markets, eat and cook fabulous food, and go to local fêtes.

H&H: What city do you find inspiring at the moment?

SC: London is so vibrant. There’s always something going on — new exhibitions, buildings, theatre or events like the Frieze [Art Fair]. It has a fantastic mix of cultures and landscapes, perfect for whatever mood I’m in.

H&H: What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

SC: A Chinese meal with lots of friends, kids and chatter.

H&H: Whose personal style do you most admire?

SC: My mum’s. She’s a talented gardener and [food] writer, and is always stylish in a very ethereal way.

H&H: Do you have a current obsession?

SC: I’m extremely tidy. I like order; it gives me a huge amount of pleasure to have things in the correct place.

H&H: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

SC: My dad gave me shares in his company. I bought my flat with the money from them.

H&H: Name two people you’d love to have at a dinner party.

SC: My children, Felix and Coco.

H&H: Describe what makes you feel rich, fulfilled and happy.

SC: A meal with my family.

H&H: What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

SC: My alarm clock.


David Loftus

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