Terence Conran

For our second episode of the ‘Building the Future’ series, celebrated designer Sir Terence Conran recalls meeting Norman Foster on numerous social occasions. From these repeated encounters a lasting friendship would grow and develop, founded upon Conran’s admiration of Foster’s clear abilities. These were typified by a drawing of rooftops, overlooked from a house in France, which conveyed Foster’s “huge attention to detail”, and for Conran stood comparison to the work of David Hockney.

On the subject of maintaining an architectural practice, Conran declares his great admiration for model making. The ability to examine a design from every direction, and to make architectural decisions based upon a model, is a facet Conran strongly associates with Norman Foster’s working method.

A helicopter flight over the City of London provided the two friends with an apposite moment to discuss the planning of this complex urban settlement, and anticipate the most suitable locations to position tall buildings. This discussion was to prove prescient, given Norman Foster’s numerous contributions to this urban fabric.

Conran contrasts this with a lack of understanding shown to the potential of fine architecture and design by those in authority. He reasons that the best qualities of design are built on the achievements of such individuals as Norman Foster; an architect who few can compete with, but whose works “make the world a better place”.