In Conversation with Internationally Renowned Designer Sebastian Conran

In Conversation with Internationally Renowned Designer Sebastian Conran 2

LM: What does luxury signify for you personally and does it heavily influence the design or your way of thinking for certain projects?
SC: The quintessential Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication,” and I very much agree. To me, luxury is not about excess or extravagance, but doing and making things in the finest and most beautiful way possible, often painstakingly by hand. For example, to the eye, ‘ICON’ is a very simple structure, yet it is incredibly elegant and complex in its design. The creation of this piece took over six years, so this project was really a test in patience, perseverance and hard work and the polishing alone took over 60 days to complete.

In another era, my motto might have been ‘In Simplicitate Elegantia Est’ or ‘Elegance lies in simplicity.’ However as we can see with the creation of ‘ICON’, this can be a lengthy process and can also be incredibly complicated to achieve.

A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Wins Best Of Show In Arizona
A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC.

LM: Are there any high-end products, which represent particularly ground-breaking innovations for you (e.g. superyachts, watches etc).
SC: I have always found that the problem with buying the latest innovation is that very soon it can become superseded, which is always disappointing. Personally I tend to go for classics that I know will last such as the 2005 Wally Yacht and Tender, the 1965 Lockheed SR71 Blackbird plane, a Bell 47 helicopter, a 1930 type 47 Bugatti car, and a 1975 Ducati 750SS Corsa motorcycle.

I appreciate items that are still highly functional but were once massively innovative for their day, such as the 1938 Minox camera; 1972 Rolex Submariner watch and of course, the 2013 Apple iPhone 5.

LM: And about you Sebastian, what are your biggest luxuries in life?
SC: For me, the biggest luxury in life is having the time to work on things I really enjoy and lovely people to share it with. One of my luxuries is working in a spacious, creative studio with lots of light, as well as having a large well-equipped workshop with a car lift.

When it comes to my home life, my luxury is having a nice spacious home with a 65 ft stretch of living space, a 100 ft garden full of fruit trees and off-street parking [one of the greatest luxuries in central London]. It’s also an easy walking distance from some terrific restaurants in London.

The Peninsula in Shanghai
The Peninsula in Shanghai.

LM: Do you have any favourite 5-star destinations or hotels?
SC: I have stayed in some great hotels over the years but recently my favourite has been the Wythe in Brooklyn, New York. I am also a big fan of the Bowery Hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Fasano in Sao Paulo (Brazil), The Peninsula in Shanghai (China), The Grand Hyatt in Roppongi (Tokyo), The George V Hotel in Paris (France), and the Gritti Palace in Venice (Italy). In London, my favourite 5-star hotel is the Lanesborough, where I was born in 1956.

LM: Are you a collector of any high-value items (e.g. cars, antiques, watches)?
SC: I am hugely passionate about driving and have previously owned several classic cars from the ‘80s including a beautiful 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB and an elegant black 1956 Fastback Bentley, reputed to have belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. I have also owned several 928 Porsches, a 911, an Alpine Renault A110, and a RS 200 road going group B rally car, fabled to do 0-60 mph in 1.98 seconds. Now I have a Conran limited edition Conran Cube, which I helped design, much more sedate and practical for today’s traffic, but it still wins lots of compliments – especially from tall passengers.

Although my motor-cross days are rather over, I still own a KTM 690cc SMC supermoto, a 1956 Matchless 500cc competition scrambler and two 350/450cc ‘70’s Ducati street scramblers. I enjoy working on them myself, and with the Internet, this is all much simpler to get parts advice and information.

These days my passions are a bit simpler and I focus on the exquisite Moulton Bicycles, which I have seven iterations of and enjoy riding daily.

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Editorial Team

The independent luxury magazine showcasing the finest and most luxurious things in life. Luxurious Magazine travels the world visiting the best resorts, hotel and restaurants to see whether they warrant the 'Luxurious Magazine' seal of approval. We also feature the latest news, finest products and services, luxury events and talk to leading personalities and celebrities.

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