French born graphic artist Camille Walala has turned Exchange Square in Broadgate into a giant playground of colour, called Villa Walala, as part of London Design Festival 2017.

Walala has a distinctive visual style, inspired by the Memphis design movement of the 1980s. Her designs liven up a variety of surfaces—from cushions and rugs to houseboats and buildings. You may recognize her work from the Dream Come True Building near Old Street roundabout. When we heard she was creating an installation right down the road, the YFS design team took a field trip to check it out!

Villa Walala involves a giant inflatable sculpture which visitors can interact with and explore. The colourful graphics also wrap around the stairs leading into the square, creating a fully immersive experience for the viewer. Located in the heart of the City, the work is intended to be a bit of fun to brighten the otherwise grey days of people who work in the area. The exhibition also nicely echoes the buildings that surround it, with similar lines and shapes. As YFS designer Mike Simpson pointed out, “it makes you look at and appreciate the surrounding architecture more.”

After earning a degree in textile design from the University of Brighton, she set up her own studio in east London, from which she still operates. She uses bright colours and blocky, geometric patterns to brighten up otherwise mundane surfaces. She has applied this style to many impressive projects, including a rooftop in New York City, a popup shop in Paris department store Printemps, and even a greasy spoon in Dalston. It is a dream of hers to one day takeover the surfaces of the council flats in Haggerston, where she lives. Take a look at her full body of work on her website.

Villa Walala is running until the 24th September, is located in Exchange Square in Broadgate and is free to visit. Head on over to experience a mini city of colour for yourself!

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