London street gets the Yinka Ilori happy treatment

Happy Streets is the product designer's first public project.

When Yinka Ilori spoke at Design Indaba Conference in 2017 he regaled us with the stories he told through furniture design. He'd created a way to recycle used materials in a way that communicated parables derived from his Nigerian heritage. 

Since then he's been experimenting in spaces beyond just product and furniture design, on projects that tend more to the architectural.

Most recently, he completed his first public project, Happy Streets, in London's Battersea. The permanent installation was commissioned by local council to coincide with the London Festival of Architecture. Made up of 56 patterned enamel panels and 16 different colours, the piece wraps around and beneath the Thessaley Road Bridge, which was once deemed an unsafe area.

The bright and welcoming colours of the installation, part of Ilori's signature style, thus serves to make the area more inviting to passersby.

The London-born designer says he is particularly pleased with the fact that children and other community members were involved in the process. 

"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," says Ilori.

Ilori's involvement in the London Festival of Architecture also included the Dulwich Gallery pavilion. Together with architecture studio Pricegore, he won the competition to design the piece, which feature the signature bright colours of Ilori's work, referencing traditional African textiles. 

The patterned bright colours are handpainted across multiple pieces of timber, supported by steel legs and concrete chambers. 

It's particularly exciting to see designers experiment across multiple fields, and Ilori's journey itself has been a shining example of just that. 

Watch the talk:

Watch the Talk with Yinka Ilori