I often mention Habitat in my articles as their influence on our homes during the 1960s was massive. The baby boomers rejected their parents stifling dark wood and chintz wallpaper, instead preferring the sleek new design that Habitat offered. It is with great sadness that a store that brought modern design to a whole generation in a time of great optimism has gone into administration.
Sit Terence Conran opened his first store in 1964, on the wrong end of Fulham Road. A white painted shop filled with products that people wanted. It was the first store to merchandise the stock into room sets so the young could browse and imagine they too could live this stylish life. Having spent over 10 years in Visual Merchandising myself pulling together these kind of room sets, I cannot believe there was a time before stores did this!
Half the store was full of the country cottage look (something you don’t generally associate with Habitat), the other with modern design.
But did you know?
They were the first to introduce the pasta jar at a time we were discovering Italian cuisine. Conran credits the business success down to this product as Habitat was one of a handful of retailers to sell them just as overseas package holidays to Italy began to be popular.
They were the first to introduce the wok in a time we were travelling further afield and discovering asian food. Habitat paved the way for families to cook differently and move away from meat and 2 veg.
They were the first to sell the duvet, freeing up our time and providing comfort. Duvets changed the look of our bedrooms as before we were stifled in blankets and eiderdowns. Again, this would have been something we saw on our travels and Conran was quick to jump on the idea.
They were the first to introduce the paper moon lampshade in 1967. In the middle of the space race, planet and spaceship like designs were popular especially within lighting. The paper shade allowed everyone to have access to this modern shape but at an affordable price. Students loved them and still do today.
They introduced the silver mesh frame Eames chair…now a design classic and worth a fortune.
They sold furniture designed by the great designer Robin Day.
And their best seller…..the chicken brick. A terracotta ceramic mini oven that allows meat to steam cook in its own moisture. They have sold millions since their first year
We loved you Habitat as you gave us the passion to love our habitat.
For more reasons why we love Habitat check out our blog “Flat-Pack Backlash”