In his trademark bright colours and motifs, the award-winning designer’s 20-piece limited edition collection features cushions, rugs and tableware (stoneware bowls and plates) but also more functional pieces such as enamel mugs and melamine trays, along with tea towels, placemats and coasters.
‘My first homeware collection is a continuation of design work inspired by my own British Nigerian heritage and childhood,’ said Ilori. ‘It’s a colourful celebration of two cultures expressed through abstract, technicolour pattern and contemporary craft. Unexpected, functional household items – that evoke memories from my own upbringing – have been reworked as colourful artworks. Each has their own narrative and back-story, meant to instil a sense of optimism and joy, to act in their own small way as a distraction to the dark times that we’re facing this year.’
The collection was designed in-house by his studio and Ilori carefully selected the craftspeople to make his products. ‘We’ve spent a lot of time sourcing specialist suppliers with a focus on craft and quality to ensure we’re creating designs that will have a long life-span,’ he said. ‘Hand-turned stoneware comes from Portugal, along with luxury jacquard table linens and cushions. Industrial enamelware is handmade in Poland. Hand-knotted wool rugs are crafted in Nepal, whilst tableware comes from the UK.’ The pieces are available to buy on the Yinka Ilori website.
Cushions I designed the ERE pattern as part of an installation that was all about tapping into inner childhood, remembering to have time to play and focus on creative freedom and the un-self-consciousness of childhood…and we’ve translated these three designs to bring pops of joyful pattern to living and bedroom
Rugs The rugs continue narratives inspired by London’s architecture and history, translating shape and form through bright, unexpected colour and composition
Trays Nostalgia and childhood are important themes I like to explore, re-interpreting past happy moments and experiences into artworks. Trays are one item that always remind me of my childhood so I thought it would be fun to include these in the collection. I like how these act as mini canvases, artworks which can be left around the kitchen and become an artwork in their own right.
Stoneware bowls I like to include unexpected design elements and colour combinations so I’m a big fan of the serving bowl with its pink inner to contrast the bold outer glaze pattern. Each piece is handcrafted in Portugal, with organic, slightly imperfect edges which juxtapose the precise, geometric elements
Tablecloth When the tablecloth came out at home, we knew it was a special occasion. I’ve always liked that about tablecloths – simple, functional pieces but they have the ability to change a space instantly and mark a celebration
Tea towels Tea towels were another functional household item that I interacted with a lot with then growing up. Drying hands, washing plates, clearing up – it was a item that the whole family used and shared for different purposes but always ended up ‘on display’ in the kitchen
Placemats and coasters Chairs have been central to my design work for well over a decade as I see them as inspirational, powerful objects that have many stories to tell. To me placemats and coasters signify a gathering of people around a table interacting, and I like the idea of these designs acting as conversational points, inspiring conversations and encouraging people to look into the background stories of these works and to understand their significance.