Virtual Design Festival

Yinka Ilori has been making models and learning to play the Nigerian talking drum during lockdown

Designer Yinka Ilori shares what he's been doing to keep busy during the coronavirus lockdown in this video message recorded for Virtual Design Festival.

Like many others around the world, the London-based artist and designer has been self-isolating and working from his home.

"I'm sure it's been a really tough time for lots of people around the world, trying to come to terms with the self-isolation situation," he said in the video.

"I've been trying to really reflect on things that I really care about and what's really important to me."

To cope with the lockdown, Ilori explains he has been reading and learning how to play the Nigerian talking drum.

"What I've been doing at home is reading a lot more and I've also learned a new instrument, which is called a Nigerian talking drum, which I will not be playing for you because I'm awful at it," said Ilori, holding up the drum and banging it to make his point.

Ilori has also been keeping occupied by making models for future projects which he says distracts him from the stress of the uncertainty.

"I've also been working on lots of models, making them out of geometric shapes," he said holding up a colourful model of a tower made from interlocking wooden parts.

"Just trying to relax my mind and think about other things that are not so stressful at the moment," he explained.

Stay positive and stay strong

In the video message, Ilori gives a word of advice to anyone struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

"My advice to you watching this video will be to stay positive and stay strong and we will come through this together," he said.

Ilori's video message also features in the VDF launch movie alongside contributions from 34 other architects, designers and artists in lockdown around the world, including Stefano GiovanniEs DevlinIni Archibong, and Bec Brittain. You can watch the full movie here.

Ilori is a London-based artist and designer who has become synonymous for his bold and colourful style that often references his Nigerian heritage, as in the case of his multicoloured wooden pavilion built outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London

His colourful style was also applied to a "forbidding" railway bridge in London's Wandsworth borough a bid to revive the area.

Ilori was also behind the exhibition design for the an exhibition celebrating black creativity in the UK at Somerset House in London and a playground for adults installed at the 2019 Cannes Lions festival in the south of France.

Ilori was also on the master jury for the design category at the 2019 Dezeen Awards.

Send us a video message

Dezeen invited architects, designers, artists and industry figures to record video messages from lockdown and made a montage of 35 video messages to launch Virtual Design Festival.

To submit your own message, see the brief here.

About Virtual Design Festival

Virtual Design Festival runs from 15 April to 30 June 2020. It brings the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

To find out what's coming up at VDF, check out the schedule. For more information or to join the mailing list, email [email protected].