Listening to Joy installation by Yinka Ilori

Yinka Ilori creates maze of colour and sound for V&A Dundee

Designer Yinka Ilori has created a colourful maze-like installation called Listening to Joy for the V&A Dundee, exploring the difference between how adults and children approach space.

Open to visitors of all ages, Listening to Joy is a labyrinthine interactive play area made up of curving mesh walls patterned in bright graphics.

Multicoloured maze made up of curving walls in a museum gallery
Yinka Illori's Listening to Joy installation is located in the Locke Hall of the V&A Dundee

Unlike in a conventional maze, the mesh panels are covered in zippers that can be opened and closed, so visitors can remake the space, rather than becoming trapped in a dead end.

Ilori designed Listening to Joy as a way of honouring play, a behaviour that is instinctual to children but less so to adults. "Listening to Joy is a celebration of play, an essential experience to enjoying life as well as practising our problem-solving skills," said Ilori.

Yinki Ilori stands among children playing in the Listening to Joy installation
Ilori creating the installation to celebrate play and kids' uninhibited movement through space

The zippable walls are intended to reflect on what the V&A Dundee describes as "the often-contradictory spatial patterns adults and children form while experiencing space".

Children tend to be fluid and non-rational, while adults take a more controlled and linear approach, following implied boundaries.

In addition to the maze, Listening to Joy includes a musical component. Two circular xylophones are nestled in the space, inviting visitors to make sound.

The music created through the instruments is being recorded and will be mixed into songs that intend to document the sounds of the space and, through them, the joy that visitors felt.

Maze by Yinka Ilori
The mesh walls of the installation can be zipped open and closed, allowing visitors to remake the space

"Play should be collaborative, so I have created this installation for visitors of all ages to explore sounds, colours and patterns in a shared space," Ilori said.

"I hope that Listening to Joy will spark imaginations and remind all of us of the power of play."

Listening to Joy was created especially for the V&A Dundee and is installed on the ground floor of the Locke Hall. It will remain open until 24 April 2022.

Two large and colourful circular xylophones embedded within waved mesh maze walls in the Listening to Joy installation
The installation also incorporates xylophones, and the music of the space will be remixed into songs

Ilori is a London-based designer who calls on both his British and Nigerian heritage in his work.

His recent projects have included colourful crosswalk installations for the London Design Festival and a temporary skatepark at Miami art week.

He was also the creative director of the 2021 Brit Awards and designed its trophies together with Es Devlin.

The photography is by Michael McGurk.

Listening to Joy is on show at V&A Dundee until 24 April 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images

Maze by Yinka Ilori
The mesh walls of the installation can be zipped open and closed, allowing visitors to remake the space
Two large and colourful circular xylophones embedded within waved mesh maze walls in the Listening to Joy installation
The installation also incorporates xylophones, and the music of the space will be remixed into songs