People, Places, Things
Sam Jacob Studio for architecture and design
is a collaborative practice that makes
buildings, places, strategies and objects.

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Yinka Ilori Studio


Sam collaborated with multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori to create his new studio in Park Royal, London.

Drawing inspiration from Ilori’s British-Nigerian heritage Ilori and Jacob have created a dynamic, layered space which incorporates the bright colours and playful elements that are characteristic of the designer’s work, while rethinking the role and function of the artists’ studio and the needs of the team.

The spirit of collaboration, learning and exchange has been an integral part of the project with Ilori and Jacob sharing their unique understanding of space with each other throughout the design process. With restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown, they worked on the spatial designs over video calls, sharing digital sketches of the space.

Working with the original layout as a starting point, the design takes an experimental approach to the use and possibilities of space. Three distinctive zones for workstations, an office, exhibition and archive space, and a communal table and kitchen have been created. At the same time, transitory boundaries and partitions including curtains and sliding doors create both openness and privacy and ensure a multifunctional environment. This creates flexibility allowing the space to respond to different ways of working, socialising, presenting and sharing.

Following two years of working from home, Ilori wanted to create a convivial atmosphere that fostered a sense of community for his team. A kitchen and communal table featuring Ilori’s recent collection of tableware serves as a place for the team to come together, encourages the exchange of ideas and enables relationship building.

Moving beyond artistic creation, space has been carved out for the display of work as well as to build an archive from over the last ten years. Across the main, central zone are displays of the current collection of homeware, limited edition prints, models of upcoming projects as well as work from different periods of his career.

The studio also functions as a meeting place with clients and curators. Ilori’s office which opens out onto both the communal space and adjoins the team’s workstations is separated by red sliding doors with yellow portholes set within an arched doorway, as well as Kvadrat’s ‘Technicolour’ curtains designed by Peter Saville. The partitions enable complete privacy, while allowing Ilori to stay connected to the team, reflecting the practical needs of a contemporary studio.

The kaleidoscope of colours found in Nigerian textiles, album covers and markets that surrounded Ilori as a child and have been a major influence on his work can be seen throughout the studio. Shades of blue, pink, red and yellow dominate the walls and floors and evoke memories of his childhood while injecting the space with a sense of joy, optimism and possibility.

While artists’ studios have traditionally been closed spaces, Ilori’s ambition is to create an open environment for collaboration and the display of work. In addition to displaying his own designs, he aims to bring creatives together to collaborate, exchange ideas as well as provide space for exhibitions.

Yinka Ilori commented: “Growing up on a council estate, I have a very distinct idea of space with openness and sharing at the core. Designing the new studio, I had a number of different priorities. I wanted the space to be flexible, serve a number of different functions, create a sense of community and togetherness and also have a certain atmosphere that would allow us all to be creative and let our imaginations run wild. It’s been an incredible experience collaborating with Sam on this unique and personal project. We have a lot of common ground in the way we incorporate whimsy, elements of playfulness and storytelling into our work and it was fascinating to be able to exchange views on how we both deal with the idea of space.

Sam Jacob commented: “In my work, I’m always looking to create a sense of energy, elevate mood and evoke feelings. I’m also always looking to see how we can push a project beyond what you would normally expect. Colour has a hugely profound impact and effect on the feeling of a space and working with Yinka has been such a unique and inspiring experience. Its been amazing to see how he incorporates colour, and to see the effect that this has on the sensation of space. It’s been great to be able to share the aspects of design we have in common, but also to draw on each other’s own specialisms to make something unique together.”

Yinka Ilori Studio