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Yinka Ilori homewear and Liberty

How Multi-Disciplinary Designer Yinka Ilori Injects Happiness into Every Project

Yinka Ilori Objects has landed at Liberty, and your everyday home-scape is about to get a serious dose of joyful maximalist energy
By: Team Liberty

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How Multi-Disciplinary Designer Yinka Ilori Injects Happiness into Every Project

How Multi-Disciplinary Designer Yinka Ilori Injects Happiness into Every Project

Yinka Ilori Objects has landed at Liberty, and your everyday home-scape is about to get a serious dose of joyful maximalist energy

By: Team Liberty

Bold, evocative and playful are just a few words to best summarise the work of multidiscipline artist and designer Yinka Ilori. Inspired by the colourful textures of his childhood, Ilori honours his Nigerian and British roots by creating works of art crafted from serotonin-inducing colours and textures that provide joyful escapism to all who view them. With a passion for making art and design accessible to all, the artist has worked on creating a positive impact on communities, from his mood-boosting billboard projects during lockdown to international projects with powerhouse brands, Lego and Courvoisier.

Since launching his eponymous homeware brand, Yinka Ilori Objects, back in 2020, Ilori has made his playful, radiant aesthetic available on a larger scale, with homeware, textiles and objects that are designed to instil a sense of optimism and happiness. With themes of nostalgia and escapism at the forefront of his work, functionality is given an artful flair that reinvents everyday items as artworks in their own right.

Here, the mixed media artist shares with us everything there is to know about his brand, from his artistic process to the creative challenges he faces.

Where do You Start When Designing Something New?

I travel quite a bit with work, so I start by having conversations with people I meet. We talk about their lives, their dreams, or things that they've experienced that spark ideas. Then I translate those ideas to a sketch book and my team help me develop it into something that can function in a public space.

How do You Hope Your Designs Will Make People Feel?

My work is very much based on the concept of making people feel happy and joyful. I hope that with this collection, when someone buys a cushion or a rug, that it ignites a sense of joy and optimism.

What is Your Favourite Piece From the Collection?

My favourite piece in the collection would have to be any of the cushions. They're such easy objects, but also a cushion is quite a statement piece that you can use in your home, whether that's in your living room or your bedroom, that instantly evokes a sense of joy. People need to have somewhere in their home that allows them to feel hopeful and joyful.

Is it Important to You that Your Collections are Accessible?

100%. I work across architecture, set design and fashion. Those big architectural projects aren't always accessible. With these pieces, anyone can go and pick up a pin badge or a water bottle or a cushion and reimagine their home. They can insert pockets of joy into their everyday lives.

How does Your Background Inspire Your Work?

My background inspires me in a number of ways. I grew up in North London to Nigerian parents and I'm a Londoner through and through. I think the energy that I get from visiting West Africa from an early age comes through in my use of colour. My collection is a fusion of both my British and Nigerian heritage, told as storytelling through homeware.

What's the Biggest Challenge When Approaching a New Project?

The most challenging but exciting thing is that I have so many ideas. So, it's a case of fine tuning them and making them a reality. I also want my pieces to be accessible and at the right price point. I'm a huge believer in storytelling and I want the stories we tell to be authentic so they connect with the customer. Another challenge is trying to pick what we want to launch next. It's a love/hate situation where I have so many ideas and have to choose what we present to the world first.

How Does Liberty Align with Your Brand?

One of the things I love about Liberty is that it's very much a brand that is embedded in community. I remember going to Liberty from a young age to buy perfume, flowers or jewellery. I think it's a place that everyone can go to. My brand is about being accessible and approachable to different audiences, and Liberty is a brand that caters for everyone. We have that same connection of community and accessibility so it really works as a partnership.

How Important is it to Educate Younger Generations About Design?

I think it is so important, as it allows children to dream. It's a kind of gateway for them to think about how they want to see the world. We try to do a lot of work with schools and young children to give them the tools and power to think openly and freely about what they want they want to say to the world. They are the next generation of creatives, architects, fashion designers and product designers, so we need to nurture those talents from a young age.

What’s the One Piece of Advice You’d Give to Anyone Wanting to Start a Career in Design?

Be authentic. Start with storytelling when you design a product. Be yourself. Trust your vision. It's quite hard when you're a creative and you have lots of different voices and opinions trying to dilute your process. You've really got to believe in your dream. If you can take people on that journey, then you've got through the tough part. Once you're past that, then everything else will materialise.

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