Yinka Ilori’s colourful skatepark in France is a pillar of the community

Sport, street art and community merge in Yinka Ilori’s skatepark in Roubaix, project that is part of Lille’s World Capital of Design 2020

Yinka Ilori Skatepark Lille
Yinka Ilori’s Colorama Skatepark takes over the 19th century wharehouse space of the La Condition Publique cultural centre in Roubaix
(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

British-Nigerian Yinka Ilori presents the Colorama Skatepark, a new project created in Roubaix, France, as part of Lille’s World Capital of Design 2020. Sport and street art merge in this characteristically colourful space, featuring modular artworks which serve as the structure for the space.

The skatepark by Ilori is part of cultural centre La Condition Publique, a creative laboratory in Roubaix merging art, urbanism and environmental sustainability. It takes over ‘Halle B’, a 1550 m² area inside a 20th century warehouse renovated by French architect Patrick Bouchain in 2004, and previously used for exhibitions and events. The institution’s brief was simple: to bring together different audiences and create a space that's inclusive.

Yinka Ilori Skatepark Lille

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

‘Skateboarding is a unique art form on its own,’ says Ilori. ‘It's performative: there's an audience, you’re doing tricks. So there is that element of display and flamboyancy - it's quite a big thing to watch.’ The designer learned from a team of professional skateboarders, working closely with them for guidance throughout the process, which often made him reconsider his design choices.

‘I think as designers, we have to understand that sometimes we're not designing only for ourselves, but for the people,’ he says. ‘This was quite a collaborative process, which I'm really grateful for.’

‘I guess the takeaway for me is, never underestimate the power of the community, and of people coming together to play.’

Ilori’s design features different modules including ramps, partitions and blocks, and integrated the newly designed elements within the existing space through colour. The modules, as well as the structural columns and brick walls were painted in a tonal palette featuring pops of gold and fluorescent hues combined with earthy shades. The design was in part inspired by the building’s 19th century façade, characterised by lacquered tiles that Ilori recreated as a motif on the walls.

Yinka Ilori Skatepark Lille

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

‘I wanted to create a space that is joyful and inclusive, and that allows room for stories to be told and created. That’s why I use colour, to create memories,’ he continues. For the designer, it was important to create a space that would become a pillar of the community, a safe space for local children: ‘skateboarding is not only about skating, but it's also about being part of a community, it's also being part of a family,’ he says. 

Further cementing the skatepark’s role in Roubaix, two classes from the local high school took part in the project’s construction, and the park also offered an opportunity for youth employment, with new ad-hoc apprenticeship positions. ‘The kids came down to help us build and paint as well, it was great to get their input as well and I think there are also future designers and makers here,’ adds Ilori. ‘I guess the takeaway for me is, never underestimate the power of the community, and of people coming together to play.’

Red pillar in the Yinka Ilori skatepark

Ilori used his characteristic chromatic language for the skatepark's design, combining functional skateboarding elements and pops of colour

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

Green pillars in the Yinka Ilori

The designer also used the architectural elements from the building, using colour on columns and brick walls to define the skatepark

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

Colour blocking in the Yinka Ilori skatepark

A detail of Ilori’s design featured a rich chromatic palette

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)

Pink walls in the Yinka Ilori skatepark

On the walls, the designer recreated some of the elements from the building's original façade

(Image credit: Maxime Dufour)




14 Place du Général Faidherbe
59100 Roubaix


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.

With contributions from