My London: Yinka Ilori

·2-min read
 (Stephen Chung for Somerset House)
(Stephen Chung for Somerset House)

Home is…

West London. That’s all you’re getting!

Which shops do you rely on?

B&Q for all of my paints and my tools for projects at the studio and at home. I like Dover Street Market to have a look, have a shop, and Victoria Miro, the gallery. My barber, Headsup in Finsbury Park, is great, too. For food, Jackson Rye in Richmond used to have really good burgers and steaks.

Your biggest extravagance?

I had a Wagyu burger recently, which I’m quite embarrassed about, at Chigwell Sheesh.

What was the last thing you googled?

‘London Fashion Week’, just to see what it’s all about.

What’s your London secret?

Chapel Market in Angel, Islington, has some quite nice market [stalls] and cafés.

If you could buy any building to live in, which would it be?

The Barbican centre. The whole thing. And I’d love to have the conservatory as my garden. That’d be dreamy. I don’t know if I’d decorate it but I’d put a playground in there, I’d design one among all of the trees in the conservatory.

The Barbican conservatory (Alamy Stock Photo)
The Barbican conservatory (Alamy Stock Photo)

Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?

Maybe when I was younger, but not recently. Apart from when they’ve said, ‘nice car’ — I have a Mercedes-Benz G Wagon.

Who is your hero?

My parents are my heroes. Their journey is super inspiring, they taught me to always fight for what you believe in and you can achieve your dreams if you work hard. They are a living testimony of that.

Who do you call when you want to have fun?

Just my friends, my family: they’re the people I can always be myself around, be silly.

What are you up to at the moment for work?

I’m designing a playground, which opens at the end of October in Barking; it’s a permanent playground. And I’m just working on a number of projects that are coming out this year and early next year.

What do you collect?

A mixture of second-hand chairs, which I redesign. I used to have about 70 but I’m down to like 50 now: they’re all in my studio. When I move studios I’m going to try to start collecting again. I also collect watches, nothing fancy, by Swatch, Timex. I’m also quite a big Bond fan and Swatch did a Bond watch collaboration — no Rolexes though, or APs.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

I’d close off all the roads and have a massive street party with food and music.

Looking across the River Thames to Strand On The Green (Alamy Stock Photo)
Looking across the River Thames to Strand On The Green (Alamy Stock Photo)

Where do you go to let your hair down?

I sometimes like running by the river in Chiswick, along to Hammersmith.

What makes someone a Londoner?

Someone who is different. And someone who has a story to tell...

Yinka Ilori’s new homewares collection will be launching this autumn (

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