Yinka Ilori

Yinka Ilori

Artsist/DesignerLondon, United Kingdom
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Yinka Ilori

Yinka Ilori

Artsist/DesignerLondon, United Kingdom
About me
London-based artist Yinka Ilori specialises in telling stories through found furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that surrounded him as a child. Humorous, provocative and fun, each piece of furniture he creates tells a story. Bringing Nigerian verbal traditional into playful conversation with contemporary design, Yinka Ilori’s work touches on various global themes that resonate with different audiences all over the world. Ilori is passionately against the unnecessary waste he has seen in European and West African consumer cultures and this drives him to reuse discarded furniture and other found objects. With each custom made piece inspired by a parable, Ilori restores new life and purpose to reclaimed materials. His furniture takes on new meanings depending on how it is used or positioned. Ilori is interested in playing with the relationship between function and form and his work sits between traditional divisions of art and design. He studied Furniture and Product Design at London Metropolitan University and has since exhibited internationally in solo shows: LIFEWTR partnership with Series 5, Ebay, Fill Your cart with colour,, MiAdiddas x We Transfer, March 2018; Unilever, Red Red, January 2018;  Now Gallery, Design Undefined, September 2017; Citizen M Hotel, Estate Playground, September 201; The Africa Centre, A Large Chair Does Not Make A King, September 2017; Plinth, The Magnum Home, May 2017; Clerkwenwell London, Design Undefined, September 2016; Milton Keynes Art Centre, Do Good Because Of Tomorrow, December 2018 9 (Current); Tropen Museum, African Fashion Cities;May 2017; Brighton Museum, Africa Fashion Cities, April 2016; Design Miami, AirBnb, Belong. Here. Now; British Library, Word Song Symbol; If Chairs Could Talk, The Shop At Bluebird, September 2015; This is Where It Started, The Whitespace Gallery, Lagos, October, 2014; Yinka Ilori, Just Africa, Stockholm March 2014 and It Started With a Parable, Jaguar Shoes, London in collaboration with London Design Week, December, 2013. And group exhibitions:  Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow, Museum of Ethnology Hamburg, August 2018;Home Affairs, Now Gallery, August 2015;  Making Africa, Vitra Design Museum, Basel, March, 2015 touring to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Autumn 2015;  Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands 01 Oct 2016 – 17 Jan 2017, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 15 Oct 2017 – 07 Jan 2018; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 03 Feb 2018 – 06 May; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 14 Oct 2018 – 13 Jan 2019; Africa Calling, Africa Utopia, Southbank Centre, September 2014; Creative Britain feature stand, British European Design Group, International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), New York May 2012.
Projects
  • Restoration Station x Yinka Ilori: Upcycle unique furniture for LDF 2017
    Restoration Station x Yinka Ilori: Upcycle unique furniture for LDF 2017For london design festival 2017, yinka ilori – a london-based nigerian designer who transforms old and abandoned chairs into new pieces enriched with character – and restoration station – a not-for-profit social enterprise that uses the craft of furniture restoration to help those recovering from addiction – join forces to create a unique collection of furniture. the range references the lives of the charity’s team of volunteers, each of whom unleash their creative skills to craft their own expr
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery's 2019 pavilion will celebrate multicultural London
    Dulwich Picture Gallery's 2019 pavilion will celebrate multicultural LondonArchitecture practice Pricegore and artist Yinka Ilori's competition-winning design for next year's Dulwich Picture Gallery pavilion fuses African and European design. Called The Colour Palace, the pavilion's colourful exterior draws on the patterned textiles of Dutch prints found in the markets of Lagos and mirrored in Peckham's 'Little Lagos'. Founded by Dingle Price and Alex Gore, Pricegore architecture studio is based in Peckham, and London artist Ilori has Nigerian heritage. As a team, they
  • Yinka Ilori x miadidas:  I think sometimes it’s quite good to be niche
    Yinka Ilori x miadidas: I think sometimes it’s quite good to be nicheYinka Ilori is a unique creative soul who marches to his own beat. His work blends past and present, form and function and his British and Nigerian heritage. It speaks to the head and the heart, capturing the essence of what it means to make your own way in the world. In collaboration with miadidas, we dropped by his London studio to meet the man and delve into his mind… Some artists immediately fall in love with their medium. Others, not so much. When Yinka Ilori’s art school tutors set him a b
Projects credited in
  • Pinterest UK presents: Black Gold, A Virtual Exhibition
    Pinterest UK presents: Black Gold, A Virtual ExhibitionA visual love letter to Black British creative expression. Black Gold features work from contemporary Black British multidisciplinary artists. In honour of Black History Month 2020 these artists contributed current works that spoke to their heritage. The collection gives a nod to elders and peers that have influenced their artistic identity. This is the manifestation of inspiration blossoming into action. Curated by Abi Wright for Pinterest UK.
  • me myself & i: Zimon
    me myself & i: ZimonWe are not one thing. We are complex creatures. Weird, yep. But wonderful. Multifaceted. Experimental. Empowered beings. Constantly evolving. The ones with the stories. Or not. Eyewear for every side of you. Zimon is a writer, filmmaker, former legendary nightclub owner, poet, musician and one of life’s true eccentrics. Lately, the multitalented Zimon has been promoting his fantastic poetry collection To Die With Horses Wouldn’t Be So Bad, and also directed a documentary on Elton John.
  • For Every One
    For Every OneBOOK DESIGN & CREATIVE DIRECTION Cover art by Yinka Ilori Published by Knights Of ———— For Every One is a book written by New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds. The book is a long-form poem, a rallying cry to creatives and dreamers of the world. Brilliant and inspirational - this is the perfect gift book for the dreamers in your life Order a copy of For Every One
  • Design Can
    Design CanFor too long the design industry has been the domain of a privileged few with 78% of its workers male and only 13% of employees from BAME backgrounds. A new campaign and online tool, called Design Can, aims to disrupt the status quo, equipping every single person in the industry with the tools to make a difference.
  • Design Can
    Design CanFor too long the design industry has been the domain of a privileged few with 78% of its workers male and only 13% of employees from BAME backgrounds. A new campaign and online tool, called Design Can, aims to disrupt the status quo, equipping every single person in the industry with the tools to make a difference.
  • Inner Visions - Yinka Ilori
    Inner Visions - Yinka IloriDesigner Yinka Ilori is known for his statement chairs, but this summer he’s applying the bold prints of his trademark furniture to the streets of London. He reveals how embracing his British and Nigerian heritage helps keep his art personal, even as it goes very, very public. This story appears in the third edition of Culture Trip magazine: the Gender and Identity issue. Photography by Matthew Donaldson Words by Cajsa Carlson Produced by Sarah Donley
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Work history
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    Furniture DesignerFreelance
    London, United KingdomFull Time
    Yinka Ilori is a East London based designer. He holds a BA (hons) degree in furniture and product design from London Metropolitan University and has since specialised in up-cycling vintage furniture inspired by traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that he grew up with as a child. Each piece of furniture he up-cycles tells a meaningful, yet humorous story which can be shared with people throughout the world. His design approach starts with the dismantling of the original components, which he then re- assembles into a new piece ready for use again. Deeply aware and passionately against the unnecessary waste of modern consumer societies in the western. Yinka Ilori also happily accepts unwanted or damaged furniture from private individuals, so that he can save, rehabilitate, and beautify them for future use, giving them a hint of Yinka Ilori's signature Nigerian parables. Since then Yinka Ilori has showcased his work in London at The Old Shoreditch Station in East London. He has also shown his in New York at the ICFF, Milan at Milan Design Week, Germany at Talents at Ambiente, and Sweden at Just Africa Gallery in Stockholm.
Skills
  • Product Design