Yinka Ilori colour obsessed

August 30, 2021

Yinka Ilori colour obsessed

Yinka Ilori colour obsessed

Known for fusing his British-Nigerian heritage and contemporary design, artist Yinka Ilori specialises in storytelling through vibrant colour. Inspiration can come from anywhere. 

In Yinka's case, he started his contemporary art journey in 2011 by upcycling vintage furniture and drawing influences from traditional Nigerian parables and West African fabrics that surrounded him as a child. Humorous, provocative and fun, Yinka's work tells a story with each piece of furniture. 

Skip to 2020 when Yinka Ilori Studio won a South London competition to overhaul a “gloomy underpass”. The Thessaly Road Railway Bridge contest was organised as part of the London Festival of Architecture. The competition brief was to use vibrant colours and patterns for the project. 

Transformed from a dark space beneath the old railway bridge in Wandsworth The Happy Street design created a welcoming space for pedestrians and cyclists. Yinka's interactive installation fills the entire underpass with 56 patterned vitreous enamel panels, forming a low-cost, durable and vibrant surface. When asked about his colour selection, he mentioned using sixteen colours chosen for happiness and well-being, with the rest inspired by colour theory.

Yinka and his team worked closely with the local residents and the nearby St. George’s Primary School and Wandsworth Council during the project’s development. 

“I am really honoured and blessed to have my first public realm project installed in Nine Elms, Battersea! The most important part of the project was talking to the community, especially the young children, and seeing the smiles on their faces when they walk under the bridge has been magical. I just hope this bridge continues to bring happiness to everyone who walks under Happy Street and inspires the next generation of young artists,” Yinka said as he described the project.

If you are inspired by the array of colours featured in Yinka's installation, you can bring the colours to life by uploading images from this blog or any images you are inspired by into Coloursmith to create and order your own test pot. Order your test pot today.

Photographer: Luke O’Donovan