Yinka Ilori: Raising the positive vibes through art and storytelling

Multidisciplinary artist Yinka Ilori is taking the serious out of design, and bringing colour, imagination, playfulness, positive energy, and good vibes to the game with his creations – everything from chairs with bold and vivid patterns and colours, billboards with positive affirmations and vibrant designs dotted around UK cities, and a homewares range.

The London-born designer specialises in “storytelling by fusing his British and Nigerian heritage to tell new stories in contemporary design”. Incorporating humour and an element of fun into his designs, the energy and essence of Yinka Ilori’s artworks is such that they heal the beholder and puts a smile on their face.

Yinka Ilori says: “Art and design are powerful tools that can change someone’s life or opinion, and inspire people around the world. No matter our medium, location or age, we should each have the space to express our stories.”

Yinka Ilori began his practice in 2011 upcycling vintage furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and West African fabrics that surrounded him as a child. Since then he has been involved in skatepark design, created an installation for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and designed this year’s Brit Award statue with its upbeat colour palette in collaboration with fellow artist Es Devlin.

Earlier this year Yinka Ilori was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE), recognised for his work in design. Responding to being awarded an MBE, the designer took to his Instagram account to express that it hasn’t been an easy journey to this point. He revealed there was a “time I was struggling to believe in myself”.

He added: “In 2015 there were sometimes thoughts of giving up designing due to the frustration and feeling people didn’t understand the designer I wanted to be. The driving force behind me to continue and push through was always the desire to make my parents proud.”

Main Image credit: Carlos Jimenez

Yinka Ilori

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 


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