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Meet Camille Walala, the Artist Putting Fun Back Into London

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 15 September 2017
Ahead of her landmark installation Villa Walala in Broadgate for London Design Festival (LDF), we caught up with Camille Walala in her East London studio to talk about her bright, graphic work.

Since graduating in textile design at University of Brighton, the French-born artist has been making a name for herself with her distinctively bold and exuberantly colourful style that can transform everything from buildings to an iPhone case.

Once she began to diversify her artistic practice to encompass more than merely textile design, Walala – a nickname given to her by an ex-boyfriend that has since stuck – started to leave her mark on the city. One of her early mural projects in London, rejuvenated a nondescript residential wall on Whitby Street for the elderly woman who lived there into a glorious frenzy of technicolour geometric patterns. Known as Georgina’s Happy House, it’s one of Walala’s favourite pieces. She has since taken on major building projects around the world that turn usually grey, uninspiring urban spaces into cheerful encounters.

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Just back from Cleveland, where her vibrant designs for the Pop Life Universe building came to life, Walala is preparing for her major LDF project, Villa Walala. As you might expect, her Stoke Newington studio is filled with all manner of brightly coloured paraphernalia. She talks about the enjoyment she gets from working with unusual spaces, the more awkward the better, mentioning a recent private commission to paint a house boat. Now she’s taking on the piazza in Broadgate, which is surrounded by austere office buildings.

Render of 'Villa Walala' | Courtesy of Camille Walala
Render of Villa Walala | Courtesy Camille Walala

No doubt wanting to instil a sense of fun and enjoyment into Exchange Square, much like her immersive Walala X Play installation at NOW Gallery in Greenwich, Villa Walala (render above) promises to be a ‘vibrant-hued, squishy-textured celebration of playfulness.’

Designed to compliment the recreational purpose of the 2,000 sq metre Exchange Sqaure, Villa Walala will give city workers a dose of sheer joy through a vivid experiential landscape of soft-touch vinyl forms. ‘I wanted to create something that played to this idea of escaping the office and letting off steam,’ said Walala. ‘But which was also a surprising contrast to the architectural context – something colourful and playful that would make the people of Broadgate stop and smile.’

Villa Walala will be at Exchange Square, Broadgate, from September 16–24, 2017.

Want to see more of Camille Walala’s work in London? Walala X Play is on until September 23 at Now Gallery.