Yinka Ilori captures childhood with Shoreditch playground installation


London based designer, Yinka Ilori, is all about bringing people together and his latest project, a multi coloured playground aims to do just that.


CitizenM hotel in Shoreditch has commissioned Ilori to create an installation at the entrance of the hotel that celebrates the best in people whatever their race, culture or beliefs.

Ilori’s response to this brief was to create an artistic playground that is inspired by the place he used to play as a child.

“We had a shared playground in a massive estate in Essex Road. There were lots of different races, it was this massive honey pot of culture and we were like one big family… We had quite a small playground with a slide and a sea saw and I remember everyone playing on it. It wasn’t the best, but what was nice was that we looked at it as if it was gold.” Said Ilori.

Ilori explains that the playground installation outside citizenM will not be an exact replica of the playground he grew up in but more a reflection of how he perceived it. He said he saw the playground as something special and exciting as well as a symbol of freedom, adventure and a sense of belonging.

Because of this, Ilori has chosen a bright colour palette for the installation. He has chosen materials that came from his childhood incorporating traditional Nigerian textiles that reflect his African roots.

“One thing I remember growing up was my mum and dad wearing traditional Nigerian clothes that were so colourful. I remember colours being so bright and joyous, really friendly and inviting. My parents would go down to the corner shop wearing clothes that I wasn’t old enough to wear, people would ask, stare or laugh and it started a conversation.” Ilori said.

Ilori said he wants to bring the joy that colour brings to him to other people.

The citizenM playground will consist of a slide, a round-about and a see-saw. Although it will mainly be constructed as an art installation, Ilori said children below five will be able to play on it.

“I based it on young children; it’s not an adult installation. I wanted it to be really playful. The focus for me was young children so I used really colourful cool and fun objects. I looked at old vintage playgrounds from the 80s and 90s and how people cherished objects. Kids would play with them and they would never get bored.” Said Ilori.

Visitors who visit the playground at citizenM will be reminded of their own childhood and the sense of wonder that the playground brings to all children.

Robin Chadha, CMO at citizenM said: We like to bring people together, whether it’s the global community or the local Shoreditch neighbourhood, and for us, Yinka’s installation is a symbol of that.

The Estate Playground will be installed outside CitizenM hotel through put London Design Festival 2017.





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