Afternoon tea with Yinka Ilori and Bulgari

Celebrating its 1oth year in London, contemporary Italian hotel Bulgari London, has commissioned the London-based British-Nigerian artist and designer Yinka Ilori to reimagine the afternoon tea stand as a sculptural work of art…

artist Yinka Ilori outside the Bulgari hotel in London holding napkins designed for afternoon tea collaboration

Following the unveiling of The Bulgari Lounge’s recently refreshed interiors for the anniversary year, Bulgari Hotel London in Knightsbridge has launched a collaboration with acclaimed multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori. The launch of the Yinka Ilori X Bulgari Hotel London Afternoon Tea on September 16 coincides with the opening of Ilori’s first institutional show at the Design Museum as the city prepares to celebrate London Design Festival and Frieze Art Fairs.

colourful and patterned napkins designed for Bulgari London afternoon tea by artist Yinka Ilori

Image credit: Bulgari London

“We were drawn to Yinka for his obsession with colour, the distinctly optimistic spirit of his bold and contemporary work, and its celebration of the diversity of the capital,” said Kostas Sfaltos, General Manager, Bulgari London. “That celebration of colour draws a parallel with Bulgari’s heritage as the master of coloured gems, and the colourful design changes we have made to Bulgari Hotel London over the past year.”

“I am extremely excited to have worked with Bulgari Hotel London for its momentous 10th anniversary,” commented Ilori.”My designs for this collaboration celebrate London’s cultural mosaic and the joy of coming together over food. The tea stands are based on the geometry of the sphere and the meeting of different cultures, and I hope people will gather at the hotel and enjoy a vibrant and colourful dining experience through the afternoon tea.”

portrait of artist Yinka Ilori with napkin gift box designed for bulgari london

Image credit: Bulgari London

Ilori’s playful designs enliven the public realm using his signature combination of colour and pattern, and his window façade of geometric designs and bold visual style at Bulgari Hotel London will be instantly recognisable. Specially designed afternoon tea stands – based on stacked and interlocking spheres – will take centre stage. An artwork created for the occasion will recur as a motif across the hotel, from a vibrant takeover of the building’s facade, to the linen napkins on the tables which will also be available to purchase as a limited edition gift set. Afternoon tea pastries inspired by Yinka’s anniversary design for the hotel are created in collaboration with the artist by award-winning Italian pastry chef and chocolatier-in-residence, Gianluca Fusto.

Main image credit: Bulgari London