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22 September 2020

Terence Conran designed this bookcase in 1951 when he was not yet 21. It was revolutionary. When it was sold at Sotheby's a few years ago the catalogue said: 'This extremely rare and important "S.1" cabinet is from the first group of commercially available furniture designed by the then twenty-year-old Terence Conran. Pieces such as this cabinet, although available in the first "Conran Furniture" catalogue, were exclusively made to order and very few are known to exist. Designed in 1952, Conran personally made this first range of furniture with the assistance of Eric O’Leary, a former bronze founder who had previously worked for the sculptor Henry Moore. At that time Conran and O’Leary worked together from a basement workshop rented from the Ballet Rambert in the Notting Hill area of London. Conran learnt the skill of metal welding while at  Bryanston school. Between 1950 and 1951, he shared a workshop in a railway arch in the Bethnal Green area of London with his close personal friend, former teacher and mentor, the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. While there Conran importantly taught Paolozzi the process of metal welding.'

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