Unity and celebration through colour

London Met grad Yinka Illori served as headline speaker for Design London, and transforms the city’s pedestrian crossings for the London Design Festival.

Date: 28 September 2021

London Met Furniture and Product Design alumnus Yinka Illori recently served as Design London’s headline speaker and chief collaborator, opening a programme of talks and welcoming guests to his vibrantly designed talks space, Transparency in Shades of Colour.

The London-based designer first joined London Met on its Art and Design Foundation course, before going on to a BA. He said, "I'm super excited to be part of Design London’s launch and to design my first ever dedicated talks space; meeting people and expressing my creativity is what I love most and this brings the two together. Community and creating spaces to make people feel safe and comfortable is so important, especially this year, and with Design London being the UK’s first major design show, it's the perfect environment to unite, celebrate and uplift one another."

In addition, Illori has transformed 18 pedestrian crossings for this year's London Design Festival, using vibrant bands of colour as part of a project called Bring London Together.

He replaced the usual black and white stripes on 11 crossings on Tottenham Court Road in central London with bold shades of blue, orange, pink, purple and green; and worked with students on designs for a further seven.

The project is also part of a tourism campaign led by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also an alumnus of London Met. It is intended to bring joy to the thousands of people walking through London's streets every day.

In an interview with Dezeen, Illori said, "For me, colour and pattern have always been a way of celebrating places, communities and experiences."

"Instead of being mundane, these crossings can become a focal point where people can experience art. Hopefully, it will make them smile and bring a sense of joy and positivity to their day.

"It's about trying to bring our community back out onto the streets to celebrate. We are still in a pandemic, but we're trying to get out of it slowly. I'm trying to make Londoners feel they can actually live their lives again."

Two men crossing a road at a brightly coloured pedestrian crossing

Pictured: Designer Yinka Illori and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, both of whom are alumni of London Met