Lego and Yinka Ilori reimagine the common-or-garden launderette

The launch of Lego’s Rebuild the World campaign in 2019 marked the much-loved toy brand’s first brand campaign in three decades. Part homage to the joy of playing with its bricks, and part rallying call to society, the ongoing campaign has spawned two TV spots and a spate of elegant poster designs over the last two years.

The latest iteration of Rebuild the World comes in the form of the Launderette of Dreams, a free installation in Bethnal Green, east London, which has been brought to life by artist Yinka Ilori and is inspired by the creative optimism of children.

All images © Mark Cocksedge

Known for using vibrant colours and bold patterns, Ilori’s work injects joy into everyday spaces and tells stories that nod to his British-Nigerian heritage. The installation draws on the artist’s childhood memories of visiting the local launderette on Essex Road, north London, with his family, with help from a group of current students from his former school, St Jude & St Paul’s C of E Primary School.

On a visit to a local launderette, Yinka asked the young students how they would rebuild the space for the better and bring people in the community together. Their playful ideas shaped the transformation of elements typically found in a launderette from the banal to the fantastical.

The installation features a number of interactive experiences, including a giant mural wall that can be built, unbuilt and rebuilt by visitors, kaleidoscope laundry drums and vending machines that dispense Lego toys instead of soap. All of these experiences aim to demonstrate how children use play and creative problem-solving skills to turn everyday experiences into adventures.

“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,” says Ilori. “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.”

The Launderette of Dreams will be open to the public from October 28 – November 6 at 133-135 Bethnal Green Road. Find out more details here