Yinka Ilori Enlivens a Café at Superblue in Miami With Wallcoverings Informed by Nigerian Parables
Yinka Ilori splashed onto the design scene about a decade ago with found chairs he transformed into vivid objects that fused his Nigerian roots and London upbringing. Cut to today and one of those chairs, Iya Ati Omo, which is Yoruban for mother and child, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection and on display in its Afrofuturist period room. Also, Ilori’s cannon has expanded beyond furniture design. “What I want to do now is create memorable moments in public spaces that are inclusive,” he says, “and that tell traditional Nigerian folklore stories, ones that celebrate happiness and joy, positivity and hope.” His permanent installation at Blue Rider, the café at experiential art center Superblue that debuted during Design Miami in December, does that in spades. Walls boast a kaleidoscope pattern inspired by the West African fabrics that surrounded Ilori as a child. Stools in a tropical palette are lightweight so guests can rearrange them to sit together (and are available for anyone to purchase on yinkailori.com, along with a host of cheery homeware products Ilori conceived during the pandemic lockdown). And a banner proclaims: “As long we have each other we’ll be ok.” He’s currently working on a community project aimed at the younger set: activating a stretch of land in Becontree, U.K., once inhabited by flamingos, into the Flamboyance of Flamingos, a playground for local school children.
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