Yinka Ilori is a London-based designer. He specialises in upcycling vintage furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that surrounded him as child. Humorous, provocative and fun, each piece of furniture he creates tells a story. Bringing Nigerian verbal traditions into playful conversation with contemporary design, Yinka Ilori’s work touches on themes as various as hope, sexuality and social class. Conscious that the parables are as relevant today as ever, Ilori wishes to share his work with people throughout 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: Design Undefined, Clerkenwell London, September 2016; Do Good Because Of Tomorrow, Milton Keynes Arts Centre, July 2016; Africa Fashion Cities, Brighton Museum, April 2016; Belong Here Now, Design Miami/Airbnb, December 2015; If Chairs Could Talk, The Shop At Bluebird, September 2015; Word.Song. Symbol, British Library, October 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: Home Affairs, Now Gallery, August 2015; Making Africa, Vitra Design Museum, Basel, March, 2015 touring to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Autumn 2015; 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.