Yinka Ilori is a British furniture designer of Nigerian heritage who places the powerful art of storytelling at the heart of designs. Ilori specialises in sustainable design by upcycling discarded and found furniture pieces, which he does by dismantling the discarded pieces of furniture and reassembling them into quirky new designs. This practice forms one strand of the story he tells, that of giving a new lease of life to something seen as having no value, having outlived its usefulness. And this story comments on, and challenges the unnecessary waste in modern consumer societies, mainly in the West, and invites us to be mindful and work towards affecting positive change.
Another strand of the story introduces Ilori’s Nigerian heritage, through the use of the vibrant, bold patterns of the fabrics he uses for upholstery and the colourful paint applied. One type of fabric he uses is known as African print or Wax Cloth, fabrics that are extremely popular and deeply ingrained into African fashion, culture and style, particularly in West Africa. And their use connects him to Africa, where the introduction of yet another strand also references his Nigerian heritage, this time in the form of Nigerian parables; ancient words of wisdom that Ilori uses to inspire his designs and name his pieces.
As these story-telling strands serve to connect Ilori’s multi-cultural heritage, presented in collections of one-off and made furniture pieces, they in turn remind us of the connecting stories in our own lives and how they are woven into the possessions we hold dear.
– Tapiwa Matsinde
[Image credit: The images shown belong to Yinka Ilori. If downloaded and used elsewhere please reference accordingly.]