British designer, restaurateur and conran shop founder terence Conran has been hugely influential in the food and style worlds—and, not surprisingly, in his five children's choice of careers. His daughter, Sophie—a food and entertaining columnist, cookbook author and creator of an eponymous line of ready-to-eat savory pies—has introduced her first tableware collection for Portmeirion; at around the same time, Terence launched his ceramics for Royal Doulton. Both lines share an earthy aesthetic and oven-to-table practicality. "Her range for Portmeirion is rather excellent, really," says Terence. "I wish I'd done it myself." For Sophie, venturing into tableware design seemed perfectly natural. "Growing up, having the right sort of plate and cup was always important, and as a cook, I want the most easy-to-use pieces," she says. Terence isn't surprised to find her interests mirroring his own so closely: "We share strong genes—the same ambition, the same hardworking streak, the same eye for humor and sauciness;and we both find great pleasure in making things that improve people's lives."
How would you describe your style?
The Conran Shop style has always been eclectic, and this has made modernism more interesting and personal, in my opinion. In the store, we have always sold antique and flea-market furnishings together with the finest and latest modern designs.
What inspired the design of your new tableware?
The collection brings me back to when I was a schoolboy and we were taken on wonderful school trips to grand, stately homes. I always found myself drawn to the kitchen area, where all the practical things were being done, and I'd stand openmouthed and enthralled at how splendid it all was. Ever since, I have been fascinated by solid, simple products.