Yinka Ilori


London, United Kingdom
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Projects credited in

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.

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  • Product Design

People I’ve worked with

Companies I’ve worked with

  • London Design Festival

    London Design Festival

    • Design
  • F


    • Zetteler


      • Marketing & PR
    • Ace & Tate

      Ace & Tate

      • Fashion and Textiles

    Work history


    Furniture Designer


    Apr 2010
    • London, United Kingdom
    • Full 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.