Fashion

Meet the furniture designer taking over the industry with Nigerian-inspired chairs

DEEP-SEATED PASSION: Designer Yinka Ilori

DEEP-SEATED PASSION: Designer Yinka Ilori

MEET YINKA Ilori, the London-based furniture designer taking the industry by storm.

The 28-year-old specialises in upcycling vintage furniture, finding old chairs with weak structures.

“I love that the chairs have flaws, they come with their own character,” Yinka told WGSN/Insider.

The Product Design and Furniture graduate designed 60 chairs for Milan Fashion Week and “I sold all my work in just one year. To be doing so much so soon in my career is a massive shock to me – I’m only 28, and I feel very lucky,” he said at the recent MBO ‘Rise With Us’ business forum.

During his studies at London Metropolitan University, he was encouraged to use the Italian designer Martino Gamper (who garnered international fame through his project 100 Chairs, where he transformed 100 old and broken chairs, reviving them to new chairs in just 100 days) as inspiration.

Then his class task was to source two old objects and use them both to create one new object that had a new story, function and identity. That project gave him the idea to fuse his British and Nigerian heritage, and his love of the old with the new to create his signature chairs.

UNIQUE: One of Yinka's designs

UNIQUE: One of Yinka’s designs

“I tell stories through the chairs. Each product is me trying to breathe all the stories, colours, sounds and languages of Africa through the chair, while celebrating the history and character it had before.”

Each chair combines upholstered craftsmanship, luxury Dutch wax African print fabrics imported from the Netherlands and comes with a story woven into it. Yinka takes his inspiration from the African parables he was taught as a child.

Visit his website http://www.yinkailori.com

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