Based in south east London, Dulwich Picture Gallery is perhaps best known for its permanent collection of Baroque artworks, but the gallery has also been branching out in recent years with the hope of attracting new audiences.
It recently put on an exhibition celebrating the work of Finnish artist and Moomins creator Tove Jansson, and in 2017 it launched the Dulwich Pavilion competition in collaboration with the London Festival of Architecture, which saw emerging practice IF_DO create a mirror-based installation and events space on the lawns outside the gallery.
Now in its second edition, the winning design from this year’s competition has just been unveiled. Created by local architecture practice Pricegore and designer Yinka Ilori, The Colour Palace’s design nods to multiculturalism of this area of London, as well Ilori’s own Nigerian heritage.
“The idea behind the Colour Palace was to create a public pavilion that unapologetically celebrated African and European ideas and cultures in the most rich and authentic way,” says the designer.
After beating 150 other entries to win the competition last year, Ilori and the Pricegore team spent time at each other’s studios to learn more about their working practices before bringing the pavilion to life.
The end result is a palace-inspired structure which is raised on monumental feet, and comprises thousands of individual pieces of hand-painted timber to create a bold geometric pattern reminiscent of the fabric markets of Lagos in Nigeria.
Inside the installation is a theatre-like space with a gantry overlooking it, which will be used throughout the summer for events including neon life drawing, supper clubs and yoga.
While The Colourful Palace bears all the hallmarks of Ilori’s signature colourful style, creating the pavilion presented the designer with an array of new challenges, especially when compared to the upcycled chairs and other furniture designs that he is best known for.
“I’ve always wanted to work on a large scale and tell the world how powerful storytelling and colour is and what it can do to people and communities,” says Ilori. “Now I’ve worked on this scale it will be hard for me to look at a chair again with a small amount of colour! [But] don’t get me wrong, chairs will always be my first love because they’ve allowed me to be myself.”
The Colour Palace is open from 12 June – 22 September 2019. Entry is free. For more info visit dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk