Yinka Ilori’s new homeware brightens 2020 with joyful optimism
Distinctively colorful and sustainably made, the designer’s new range of homewares includes cups, plates, rugs and cushions in his signature playful patterns and palettes inspired by his childhood
‘My first homeware collection is a continuation of design work inspired by my own British Nigerian heritage and childhood,’ says designer Yinka Ilori. His work has traditionally been developed as a ‘colourful celebration of two cultures, expressed through abstract, technicolour pattern and contemporary craft,’ and this new venture seamlessly follows this path.
Ilori selected a small range of functional household items that evoke memories from his own upbringing and reworked them with bold patterns: think enamel cups, printed placemats, plates and pillows, as well as tv dinner-ready trays and carefully crafted rugs and tablecloths. Each item, he explains, has its own story, ‘meant to instil a sense of optimism and joy, to act in their own small way as a distraction to the dark times that we’re facing this year.’
Ilori is no stranger to positive initiatives inspired by the recent pandemic. Earlier in 2020, the designer’s colorful graphics were applied to public buildings across London featuring encouraging messages such as ‘Better days are coming I promise’ and ‘As long as we have each other we’ll be ok’. Commissioned by the NHS, the pieces bounced all over social media and helped create a sense of communal hopefulness. ‘Online, I’ve seen a growing audience interacting with my works that promote positivity and act as a form of creative hedonism on social media feeds,’ admits Ilori. ‘With a number of public installations put on hold, this year has given me time to work on a joy project that could translate this creative optimism offline.’
Each item is meant to instil a sense of optimism and joy, to act as a distraction to the dark times that we’re facing
To build the collection, the designer spent a long time researching suppliers, focusing on craftsmanship, quality and durability. He sourced stoneware, jacquard table linens and cushions from Portugal, hand-knotted wool rugs from Nepal and tableware from the UK. ‘This collection has been a truly uplifting and fascinating project to work on,’ concludes Ilori. ‘It allowed me to to bring my artworks, which are normally associated with large scale installations and public exhibitions, into a new setting within the home.’ §