A nice paper thing

Habitat paper bag
The recent demise of Habitat shops outside of London saddened me. Not for Habitat as it traded recently. But for its more creative and more illustrious past.

When I was young I poured over Habitat catalogues. At the back of them you were once able to order an entire house pack. It contained everything needed to set up your starter home, room by room. Down to sets of knives and forks. Like a giant furniture hamper. I dreamt of buying that pack. Still do.

I loved the old Habitat graphics. Catalogues, carrier bags. So I was all of a quiver when I found this old paper bag, containing two Chinese paper kites. Presumably they had all been left in a drawer since they were purchased in the early-1970’s.

Habitat went through a revival graphics-wise a few years ago. It wasn’t enough to reverse their fortunes but it was a good try. Graphic Thought Facility re-designed the logo in 2002. And that heart / house symbol is one of my favourite logos. Ever.

Everyone has something to say about why Habitat finally folded in on itself. But me, I was (and am) a Terence Conran fan. I was once a Habitat fan. And I think it is a shame they had to retrench.

At its height Habitat was a super smart retailer of rather nice home goods. And produced rather nice bags to put them in, too.

20 December 2011
The Design Museum Conran exhibition tells me this bag was illustrated by Juliet Glynn-Smith and is probably mid-1960s, a lot earlier than I had thought. There is one of these in the exhibition, along with some other lovely work by her for Habitat.



hey, thats great, i have another, a larger paper habitat bag with handles from the same series at home.. perfectly preserved in the lining of a trunk of my fathers.. ihow can i share the picture with you??

shelf appeal

You can share a picture with me by electronic mail to info at shelfappeal dot com. Or just post the bag through and I’ll look after it for you..


Nice bag. I particularly like the teapot. I had three of those chinese paper kites (dragons and fish I think?) in my bedroom when I was a child. My mum still reminisces about how getting the latest Habitat catalogue was an incredibly exciting event in the 70s. Me, I still like to drool over The House Book.

shelf appeal

Dragons and fish indeed. I’ll send you a pick when they next fall under my eye. Small design world innit?

Daniel Nelson

Where did you find it? I love it.
Such a shame they haven’t been so good recently and even more noticeable now that Sir Terry has turned 80 and reflecting on his successes including Habitat.

shelf appeal

I can’t remember where I found it, probably a collectors fair of some sort.


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