Sophie strives to create products which fit into our hectic lives and add a little beauty to every day. Her father, Sir Terence Conran, helped to inspire her passion for design from a young age and now Sophie is as much of a household name he is. We were lucky enough to grab a chat with this very busy lady and learn more about Sophie's flourishing career path, family life and her design inspirations.
Q: You started working in design at a very young age, how did you get started?
When I left school, which I wasn't very good at, art was the thing that I really enjoyed, we didn't do design and I couldn't do cookery but those were the two things that I enjoyed and excelled in. The first thing I wanted to do was be a hat designer and so I went to work for a milliner named Stephen Jones and that was my first ever job. Not long after, I worked for a lollipop company then worked in the import/export industry and dabbled in a little bit of journalism too. Then I went on to work with my brother Jasper and I have done all sorts of creative things since then!
Q: What is it like coming from a family that is so well known in the world of style and design?
It's my family and they're the one I've got so it's normal to me. On the other hand it's very exciting, we get to go to Jasper's fantastic fashion shows and I've been very lucky to have met lots of amazing people and have been around lots of creativity. It's very inspirational!
Q: What do you think makes you so passionate about design?
I really like to think about the person and the emotional attachment that we have to things. I like to think about how someone is going to interact with something when I design it. When I am designing something new, I really like to think about the person and the emotional attachment that we have to things. When I design a range of porcelain, I don't want it to be something that demands a lot of attention. It should be practical and simple and it should be lovely to use as well as useful.
Q: How would you describe the Sophie Conran style?
That's really difficult, I don't know! It's relaxed, colourful and comfortable. I try to put joy into everything I create.
Q: You have teamed up with a number of different brands and worked on lots of different products, what do you love designing most?
Each different discipline brings a new set of challenges. Be it kitchen textiles to cookware or gardening tools for getting my hands dirty outdoors, I really enjoy the challenge of working on multiple projects and collaborating with all the different amazing people that I work with.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece? And why?
I'm very proud of the Portmeirion collection. It embodies my greatest passions in life: cooking and the home. I've always been fascinated with the beauty of traditional English spongeware and the collection really epitomises Britain's love affair with blue and white china. We get lots of very positive comments from our customers and that makes the design process really worthwhile.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your collections?
I really love the design of Claridge's. I love the glamour of it and I was taken there by my parents on my 13th birthday and it's always felt very special and continued to inspire me. I'm always out and about and I like going to antique shops and vintage markets. I really enjoy nature and I love looking through magazines, books and museums to fuel my imagination and gather design inspiration.
With the wallpaper pattern collection I did for Arthouse, I looked to the emotions and personal experiences of my childhood. Wallpapers are about creating a sense of space and transforming an environment, wallpaper is a fantastic tool for that, you can completely change the feeling of a room and I wanted to evoke certain feelings through happy childhood memories.
Q: You also have a passion for food and have several successful books under your belt, what kind of dishes do you like to make?
I like making nice family meals for sharing with the family and friends. I've done a book on soups and stews and another on pies and they're all quite cosy... the perfect winter-warmers!