One of my favourite designers on the scene right now has to be Yinka Ilori and since he’s well and truly dominating at London Design Festival this year, truth be told, I have no shortage of things to take about when it comes to the patterned prince (see for yourself here, here AND here).
If you haven’t heard of Yinka, he’s a very special designer that takes old and abandoned chairs and overhauls them in inventive ways to showcase narratives and tell his story. As one of the sweetest and most humble guys I’ve had the honour of meeting in the industry, I’ve tended to follow his every move and I’m so glad to see him busy and challenging the way in which we think.
One of my favourite projects Yinka is involved in this LDF is a collaboration with social enterprise Restoration Station – a furniture restoration centre created to help people recovering from addiction find a route back into society and self-worth. In other words, an absolutely amazing place, doing incredible work with the help of a handful of wonderful people.
Founded in 2014 on the belief that taking part in creative work and learning new skills can play an important role in recovery (you know I’m a firm believer in this), Restoration Station is a non-profit initiative of the Spitalfields Crypt Trust(SCT), a registered charity that has helped those suffering from addiction and homelessness in East London for over 50 years. Restoration Station receives no government funding, relying solely on grants, help from volunteers and the donation of furniture. All money made from furniture sales goes straight back into funding the programme.
The collaboration is one of perfect matrimony with both contributors sharing a love for a skip and a good chair overhaul, although with Yinka choosing to express himself with colour and pattern as opposed to just a great upcycle. The Restoration volunteers took part in two workshops with Yinka, helping to unleash their creative skills on a stash of donated furniture and teaching them how to express themselves and their own story with colour and pattern. Having been to a workshop with Yinka, I can tell you now that the process would have been a lot of fun!
The final result is a collection of stunning chairs showcasing the individuality of each restorer and their own design journey. Named after each creator, the collection is both heartwarming and absolutely covetable, with hidden stories and perfect restoration to boot. Those lovely folk at Zetteler sure did a wonderful job on curating the exhibition, as well as producing the bloomin’ marvellous video below – have a little peek, you know you want to.
The chairs are now available to view (avec colourful wall) at Restoration Station, 118 Shoreditch High Street. All are up for auction with proceeds going to support the recovery of people whose lives have been affected by addiction. Go bid, make your home more colourful and your heart just a little bigger.
Credits: Art direction – Yinka Ilori; Curation – Zetteler; Set design, fabrication and installation – Simon Sawyer; Vinyl studio – Dave Gibbons ￼￼(Puck Studio); Photographer – Dan Weill; Filmmakers – Andy Dunn + Tim Dufort; Signage – Felix McCormack