African-inspired interiors:from Dulwich Picture Gallery’s pavilion to Ikea’s latest line, vibrant prints and colour are taking over London homewares

Crouched on four fat red cylinders like the legs of a big beast is The Colour Palace, a summer pavilion opened at Dulwich Picture Gallery for this month’s London Festival of Architecture.

By Peckham architect studio Pricegore and artist and designer Yinka Ilori, the pavilion’s proportions and sedate circles and triangles on its multi-slatted façade acknowledge Sir John Soane’s adjacent Neoclassical gallery. But the explosion of colour: “Well, that’s pure African,” says Ilori, a Londoner of Nigerian heritage.

“I was remembering the vibrant fabric markets in Lagos, and the mosques in Kano, in Nigeria.” The pavilion is open until September 22. Check out its events programme at

Londoner Eva Sonaike, also with Nigerian roots, is a graduate of London College of Fashion where she immersed herself in contemporary African fashion and textiles.

The key green events to look out for at London’s architecture festival
Now she has her own luxury brand with original patterns on fabric by the metre plus cushions, poufs, rugs and lamp shades, with stockists and interior decorator clients all over the world.

Up next are wallpapers. “My contemporary African look perfectly suits that eclectic maximalist trend.”

Ron Arad, one of London’s best known designers, was in Dakar in Senegal this year with local metalworkers, fashioning chairs with great whirls of metal to mark 10 years of M’Afrique, Italian brand Moroso’s pioneering furniture collection designed in Europe and made by African artisans (7-15 Rosebery Avenue, EC1; 020 3328 3560).

Swedish and African designers got together for Överallt homewares with 33 pieces, new at Ikea. Particularly elegant is a slot-together low plywood chair by architect Issa Diabaté from the Ivory Coast.

Continue Reading

Social profiles