Yinka Ilori, a Nigerian-born production designer was raised in London but you wouldn’t have guessed with his vintage furniture creations that are inspired by traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics he grew up with.
With two or three old pieces of abandoned furniture, Illori creates beautiful and thought-provoking pieces that focus on themes ranging from hope to identity.
Ilori believes the parables he grew up hearing from his parents and their favourite musicians – the likes of Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade – are still as relevant today as they ever were.
Revealing the inspiration behind his work, Yinka told Quartz:
“I want the furniture to tell a story about my culture and my identity and my upbringing because I’ve always been a bit jealous of my parents. They had such a rich heritage and culture.”
Although Yinka now up-cycles different pieces of furniture, he initially started out with chairs and that’s where his genius truly shines.
Speaking with Creative Boom about why he was first drawn to working with chairs, Yinka said:
“Chairs have always been a huge part of my culture, especially at home. If my dad came back from work and you sat in his chair, you just knew you had to get up.
It was a sign of respect offering your chair to someone who was a lot older than you. Not only that, old chairs are really powerful objects that have many stories to tell.”
As stunning as these chairs are, they are not particularly functional, and they’re not supposed to be – they are simply meant to challenge how we look at the world around us.
You can learn more about Yinka Illori’s work on his website.
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