by Jerry ElengicalSep 25, 2021
On view in London’s Shoreditch district, between October 28 and November 06, the Launderette of Dreams is an open, interactive art installation developed by multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori in collaboration with the LEGO Group. Reimagining the relatively humdrum halls of a community launderette as a lively playground of experiences, Ilori has infused his trademark display of bold graphics and vibrant colours into the space with the aid of 200,000 LEGO bricks, to cultivate an assortment of immersive installations and gamified play spaces that appeal to the minds of young children. As part of the LEGO Group’s Rebuild the World campaign, the initiative highlights means in which children can pick up creative problem solving methods and communication skills through play.
“Like Yinka, children are brimming with amazing ideas for how to rebuild the world around them for the better and use play to transform the mundane into a magical experience. Their creative optimism inspires us every day, and we hope the Launderette of Dreams shows how fun and playful the world around us can be when approached with a bit of childlike imagination and joy", shares Alero Akuya, Vice President of Global Brand Development at the Denmark-based LEGO Group, in an official release. This latest installation by Ilori comes on the back of a number of high-profile commissions he has undertaken over the past year, which includes the trophy and set design for the BRIT Awards 2021, as well as his ‘Bring London Together’ Landmark Project at the London Design Festival 2021.
For this project, the East London-based designer was initially inspired by a visit to a local launderette where he spoke to children from his old primary school - St Jude & St Paul’s C of E. While interacting with the students, Ilori discovered the wealth of playful ideas they had to improve the space, make it more interesting, and in the process, bring the local community together. He subsequently combined these seeds of imagination with his own childhood experiences at launderettes. In fact, it was during these visits to a launderette on Essex Road in North London that Ilori remembers discovering his creative streak as a child while coming up with innovative ways to spice up monotonous daily tasks such as doing laundry.
In an official release, Ilori explains the installation’s significance, “The Launderette of Dreams is a very personal project for me because I spent a lot of time during my childhood at the launderette. It was where I could dream about the things I wanted to achieve. We often forget about the mundane spaces which play an important role in bringing the community and people from different cultures and backgrounds together, as well as providing an opportunity for kids to meet, play and share ideas”.
Transforming the classic storefront at 133 - 135 Bethnal Green Road into an explosion of orange, green, red, yellow, and pink hues, complete with a spiralling colour wheel at the centre of its exuberant façade design, Ilori and LEGO’s Launderette of Dreams makes a run-of-the-mill activity into an exciting adventure for children. The partition walls, floors, and furnishings have all been dressed in an array of multicoloured geometric patterns - an Ilori signature - as part of the revamped interior design. Hosting a plethora of engaging features: ranging from a giant LEGO mural wall that can be disassembled and reassembled, to kaleidoscopic laundry drums, colourful hopscotch flooring, and vending machines that proffer LEGO toys in lieu of soap, the installation encourages visitors to use their imagination and refashion the space before them in a more interesting way - all with the aid of LEGO.“LEGO bricks are a powerful tool," IIori elaborates, "to help bring this imagination to life by offering the creative freedom to build any structure or object that you can dream of”.
As a free-to-enter public installation, the Launderette of Dreams is open from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm daily throughout the designated days it is on display. While advance bookings are currently full, a limited number of walk-in visitors will be permitted within each time slot. The space will also host a series of workshops conducted by Ilori and others, inviting families to explore the possibilities of remodelling the world around them by approaching the task with the joy and optimism of a child. Illuminating his goals for the project, Ilori mentions, “Community launderettes are essential to the fabric and DNA of many communities. I hope the Launderette of Dreams inspires both adults and children to believe they can dream and create anywhere”.