This pop-up installation reimagined a community launderette as a vibrant, interactive play space using over 200,000 LEGO® bricks. British-Nigerian artist Yinka Lori teamed up with LEGO® to create the Launderette of Dreams; an interactive space inspired by the children from Yinka Ilori’s former school, St Jude & St Paul’s C of E Primary School.
The Launderette of Dreams features Ilori’s signature bold colours and geometric shapes, applied across ten “washing machines” and the walls of a shopfront on Bethnal Green Road in east London. Yinka Ilori wanted the installation to pay tribute to the multifaceted role that laundromats can play in communities while harnessing the creative optimism of children to transform an everyday shopfront.
On a visit to a local launderette, he asked the young students how they would rebuild the space for the better and bring people in the community together. As a result, the playful design features kaleidoscope laundry drums, mural walls and hopscotch tracks.
The Launderette of Dreams is a very personal project for me because I spent a lot of time during my childhood at the launderette. It was where I could dream about the things I wanted to achieve. We often forget about the mundane spaces which play an important role in bringing the community and people from different cultures and backgrounds together, as well as providing an opportunity for kids to meet, play and share ideas. Community launderettes are essential to the fabric and DNA of many communities.”
The installation draws on Ilori’s childhood memories of visiting the local launderette on Essex Road, North London, with his family. It was during these trips that he first remembers embracing his imagination to make the most mundane everyday routines more playful.
The installation features a number of interactive experiences such as a giant mural wall that can be built, unbuilt and rebuilt by visitors. The installation invites people to come together to play, encourages them to rebuild their own world using LEGO bricks, and highlights how LEGO play can help children develop life-long skills such as creative problem solving, communication and resilience.