Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group enliven the mundane with ‘Launderette of Dreams’

The multidisciplinary artist and designer has revamped a launderette in London with bold colours, patterns, and LEGO bricks to create playful, interactive spaces for young children.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Oct 30, 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.

Multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori infused his trademark explosion of colours to liven up the mundane halls of a launderette | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
Multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori infused his trademark explosion of colours to liven up the mundane halls of a launderette Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group

“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.

Ilori was initially inspired by a discussion in a launderette with students from his old primary school on how they would make the space more interesting | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
Ilori was initially inspired by a discussion in a launderette with students from his old primary school on how they would make the space more interesting Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group

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.

  • Bold patterns and vibrant hues have transformed the space into a playground for young minds to explore | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
    Bold patterns and vibrant hues have transformed the space into a playground for young minds to explore Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group
  • The project holds personal significance for Ilori, who fondly remembers his own childhood trips to the local launderette | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
    The project holds personal significance for Ilori, who fondly remembers his own childhood trips to the local launderette Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group

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”.

  • A LEGO mural wall within the space invites visitors to disassemble and rebuild using their own imaginations | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
    A LEGO mural wall within the space invites visitors to disassemble and rebuild using their own imaginations Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group
  • Ilori views LEGO bricks as a useful tool to bring one’s imagination to life and explore creative avenues | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
    Ilori views LEGO bricks as a useful tool to bring one’s imagination to life and explore creative avenues Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group

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”.

The installation uses 200,000 LEGO bricks throughout its interactive environments | LEGO Launderette of Dreams | Yinka Ilori and the LEGO Group | STIRworld
The installation uses 200,000 LEGO bricks throughout its interactive environments Image: © Mark Cocksedge, Courtesy of the LEGO Group

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”.

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