This London Design Festival marks a collaboration between non-profit social enterprise Restoration Station and designer Yinka Ilori. The project will result in a unique collection of furniture which will be on sale throughout the festival. Investing in one of the pieces ticks multiple boxes. Not only are you snapping up Yinka Ilori’s distinctive aesthetic (and for a fraction of the price) but you are also supporting the long-term recovery of people battling addiction.
Shoreditch-based organisation Restoration Station was founded in 2014 and runs workshops for recovering addicts that equips them with valuable skills in woodwork and furniture restoration. The motivation is simple: by participants learning a new craft, and restoring a piece of furniture that they can be proud of, Restoration Station helps those battling addiction in their long term recovery; building confidence and increasing their prospects of finding a job in the future. “Addiction often takes you to a place of hiding, shame and isolation,” says Sheona Alexander, director of services at Sptialfields Crypt Trust. “Creativity taps into an aspect of ourselves where these things can no longer be covered up. You can’t have shame over a beautiful piece of furniture that you’ve just restored.”
Restoration Station volunteers work to restore antique furniture – much of it donated – which is then sold to members of the public through its shop on Shoreditch High Street. It also operates a commissioning service: many pieces restored in the workshop can already be found in restaurants and shops in and around Shoreditch. Restoration Station receives no government funding and therefore relies solely on grants, help from volunteers and the donation of furniture. All money made from furniture sales goes straight back into funding the programme.
On the occasion of London Design Festival 2017, Restoration Station is thrilled to be collaborating with London-based Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori. Much like Restoration Station, Ilori specialises in the up cycling of furniture; reviving discarded pieces into contemporary designs through the use of vibrant colours and patterns that resemble traditional Nigerian ensembles. Ilori’s socially conscious approach is no coincidence. It was his concerns about the monumental amount of unnecessary waste produced by consumer culture in both Europe and west Africa that drove him to specialise in reusing discarded furniture and other found objects.
Restoration Station’s collaboration with Ilori will see the designer working with the programme’s participants to teach them his craft. Following a series of workshops, in which volunteers will restore pieces of furniture under Ilori’s guidance, the collection will go on sale in Restoration Station’s shop throughout the duration of London Design Festival. While Ilori’s furniture can sell for upwards of £1,000, the pieces on sale at Restoration Station will be priced in line with the charity’s existing pieces.
Restoration Station was founded with a belief in the restorative value of learning new skills and therefore Ilori won’t be making the furniture himself, but instead directing the overall aesthetic of the collection. Expect bold stripes, Nigerian prints and lashings of colour!
Restoration Station is located at 118 Shoreditch High Street
The charity’s shop will be for the duration of London Design Festival, 9-5, 16-24 September.