Despite being best known for founding furniture brand Habitat during the 1960s, Sir Terence Conran’s work in the hotel sphere undoubtedly left its mark on a generation of designers too. In our very own tribute to the British visionary, we look back at how he paved the way for boutique hotels in the UK and beyond.

After setting up Conran Design Group in 1956, Sir Terence eventually teamed up with Manser Practice to restore London’s Great Eastern Hotel to its former glory, carrying out a £65 million refurbishment that would rectify decades of decline. A true class act, the hotel celebrated the golden age of travel and has since been acquired by Hyatt, but that would signify Sir Terence’s last involvement, as you’ll find out later.

Boundary hotel in Shoreditch, London

In 2009, to recognise his ongoing work across Europe – which by then included the likes of Das Triest in Vienna and the Fitzwilliam in Dublin together with Great Eastern Hotel in London – Conran was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution Award at the European Hotel Design Awards (now the AHEAD Awards).

He celebrated double success that year, with Boundary in Shoreditch, his last project with Conran and Partners, scooping the prize for Hotel of the Year too. The converted Victorian warehouse was entirely reinvented, creating a new community in an area that was undergoing significant change at the time.

Described as a “complete piece of design” – from an extensive engineering project, architecture and rooftop extension, to the interior design of rooms and three culinary destinations, right down to the look and feel of the menus –  it was hailed for its strong singular narrative, which remained consistent from start to finish.

Puro Kazimierz in Krakow, Poland

Maximilian Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic

Since then, Sir Terence’s architecture and interior design practice, now referred to as Conran and Partners, has gone on to build a portfolio that extends around the world, with recent hotel projects including Puro Kazimierz in Krakow and Hotel Maximilian in Prague – both of which have featured on the pages of Sleeper.

Andaz Red Suite at Andaz London Liverpool Street

Fittingly, Sir Terence’s final foray in hotels would see him return to Great Eastern – now Andaz London Liverpool Street after being acquired by Hyatt in 2007 – to redesign its (Andaz) Red Suite, a luxury room with philanthropic purpose. Highlighting the work of Bono and Bobby Shriver’s Red HIV awareness foundation, the space marked the second in a series of Andaz suites promoting the charity’s work in Africa.

Marrying a spectrum of red hues with a catalogue of noteworthy details, it features a Karuselli lounge chair in crimson leather and a centrepiece sofa in fuchsia, along with two suspended halo lights that represent the charity’s founders and curated artwork depicting those the foundation has helped over the years.

“It has been a dream for me to be involved with the building once again,” Conran explained in 2018. “I am proud to have collaborated with the Andaz brand and Red on a suite design that will give guests a great deal of pleasure while doing a great deal of good in the world.”

And do a great deal of good Sir Terence did, revolutionising everyday life in contemporary Britain through parallel careers spanning retail, design and F&B. A true visionary whose legacy will live on for years to come.