Terence Conran Donates $28 Million to London’s Design Museum

Terence Conran, the designer and restaurateur who founded the Habitat store chain, is donating the equivalent of 17.5 million pounds ($28 million) to help the Design Museum move into a new London home with three times the space of the current premises, the trustees said today.

The gift consists of 7.5 million pounds in cash and the value of the sale of the lease of the present building at Shad Thames, valued at about 10 million pounds. This will take Conran’s contribution to the museum and its predecessor to 50 million pounds over 30 years, the trustees said in a statement.

“Sir Terence’s exceptionally generous gift to the Design Museum will not only help this excellent institution move to a new home, but will also help showcase Britain’s ability to produce some of the world’s greatest designers,” Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in an e-mailed release.

Conran established the forerunner of the museum, the Boilerhouse, in the basement of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1982, before the Design Museum opened at Shad Thames in 1989. The museum plans to move into the former Commonwealth Institute, with the project scheduled for completion by 2014.

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