Design Legend Sir Terence Conran Among Top Five Art Philanthropists of the Year

Design Legend Sir Terence Conran Among Top Five Art Philanthropists of the Year
Sir Terence Conran
(Photo Luke Hayes)

HRH The Prince of Wales presented five medals for Arts Philanthropy during a ceremony at St James’s Palace earlier today. Sir Terence Conran, Sir Peter Moores CBE, DL, Mr Mathew Prichard, CBE, DL, Sir Gerald Elliot & Lady Elliot, and The Lady Rayne were all singled out for their outstanding support to the arts in the country and beyond. 2011 honoree Dame Theresa Sackler also collected the insignia.

Organized by the charity Arts & Business, The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy has been awarded since 2008. “The arts always have and always will rely on the support of individuals,” said chair of Arts & Business Jonathan Moulds. “If we are entering more difficult times for public arts funding, it is vital that we continue to put in place the long lasting recognition to highlight the impact of individual support. Collectively, we must encourage others to develop their passion for the arts and inspire the next generation of givers.”

The nomination of Sir Conran demonstrates the status of design in the UK — status he can be largely credited for. Over the last 31 years, the Habitat founder and businessman extraordinaire has given £50 m to the Design Museum, and its predecessor, the Boilerhouse, which he set up in 1981. He has been instrumental in the development of the new Design Museum, due to open in the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington in 2015. For this project alone, Conran has given £7.5m, as well as the proceeds from the sale of the lease of the Shad Thames building, valued at £10m.

Conran has also shaped a generation of designers, including Thomas Heatherwick, the creative mind behind London 2012’s spectacular Olympic cauldron. He has served as Provost of the Royal College of Art, and sponsored the graduate shows for many years.

The five honorees were chosen by a panel including Sir Ronald Harwood (writer), Dame Monica Mason (The Royal Ballet director), Christopher Le Brun (artist), and Colin Tweedy (vice-president Arts & Business).