Dezeen Magazine

Yinka Ilori with Types of Happiness chairs

Yinka Ilori places gigantic chairs on The Line art walk in London

British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori has created two oversized chairs decorated with a colourful Dutch wax-like print for his Types of Happiness installation in east London.

The two 10-feet-high chairs, which were made from an internal steel frame with fibreglass padding and painted a high-gloss colour, are located on The Line art walk in east London's Royal Docks area.

Originally designed as part of a wider collection of six chairs that were informed by different emotions, the two chairs on The Line represent happiness and pride.

Types of Happiness chairs in Royal Docks
The chairs are made from steel and fibreglass

"The chairs were sort of born from an underpass project I did in Battersea, Happy Street, where I was also asked to host a mini-exhibition for the community," Ilori told Dezeen.

"The chairs drew on the colours of the underpass and colours that represent happiness," he added.

"The original six chairs were normal-size; these are larger versions of two of them."

Jogger behind chairs in Royal Docks
The chairs form part of The Line art trail

Both Types of Happiness chairs were decorated with strong colours and covered in a pattern reminiscent of Dutch wax prints – also known as African wax prints and Ankara – which are common in west and central Africa.

One features a brown-and-orange eye print, while the other has blue and green leaves and berries on an orange background.

Designer Yinka Ilori in front of oversized chairs
Yinka Ilori designed them to represent happy feelings

Creating these two chairs for The Line, which bills itself "London's longest public art trail", was a flashback to Ilori's beginnings as a designer when he often worked with chairs.

"I've always been obsessed with chairs, collecting chairs around London and sort of retelling their stories," Ilori said.

"I'm basically looking at the chair, whether it's someone's auntie's or your grandmother's chair passed on to their son or daughter, and reimagining their narratives but trying to incorporate my personal stories onto those chairs," he added.

"I'm then passing that narrative on to allow the user to add their own story. It's about looking at how mundane objects can be a platform to keep stories or share memories, and about going back to my original roots of chairs and storytelling."

Large chairs in Royal Docks
They have a Dutch wax-print pattern

Ilori revealed that he will continue to explore chairs this year and is working with a fashion brand to create a number of them for an installation during the Frieze Seoul art fair.

The Line art walk runs from Queen Elizabeth Park in east London to The 02 building in southeast London. As well as being part of The Line, the launch of Types of Happiness coincides with a number of cultural events taking place in the Royal Docks area under the banner At the Docks.

Ilori's recent projects include his first pop-up shop, which featured display stands modelled on buildings in Burkina Faso, and an exhibition dedicated to his work at London's Design Museum.

The photography is by Stephen Chung, PINPEP Media.