Colour Palace comes to Dulwich Picture Gallery

colourful outdoor structure
The Colour Palace

From 12 June to 22 September, people can come to Dulwich Picture Gallery and observe a vibrant new outdoor structure, called The Colour Palace, which fuses West African and European cultures to represent the south-east London experience, writes Ethan Delcroix-Jones. 

The Colour Palace will be used, over the summer, as a public space to house various activities, such as supper clubs, talks, drawing sessions, storytelling and yoga.

The design of the project is a collective effort by London-based artist Yinka Ilori and architectural firm Pricegore (Dingle Price and Alex Gore) who collaborated to create a design that won the open design competition organised by Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture. With 150 entries, they were the favourites of not only the public, but a panel of industry veterans including Guardian critic Tom Wainwright, founder of architect firm Mary Duggan and architecture writer and broadcaster Tom Dyckhoff.

Yinka Ilori said: “The beauty of the Pavilion’s design is that it stands bold and proud surrounded by the history Sir John Soane’s iconic building, celebrating history and culture.

“Its patterns and shapes calmly welcome you from a distance until you get closer and closer, and you’re blown away by an explosion of colour that immediately demands your attention.”

three people sitting together
From left to right: Alex Gore, Dingle Price and Yinka Ilori

The Colour Palace explores a “what if scenario” in which Sir John Soane, the architect behind the design of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, visited fabric markets in Lagos through its mix of symmetry, curves and right-angles and its “explosion of colour”.

Dingle Price and Alex Gore said: “The brief for the Dulwich Pavilion demanded a celebratory response to John Soane’s outstanding historic architecture, and having Yinka as part of the Colour Palace design team has really helped us to achieve that.”

The actual process of building The Colour Palace was divided into different parts, with the gathering of different materials being done in Newcastle and the on site construction being completed over three weeks from 20 May to 8 June.

The project was funded by Dulwich Picture gallery’s sponsors including the Arts Council England, Mylands, and Gosnells of London. The Gallery also organised a crowdfunding campaign on Art Fund which raised over £20,000. 

Organisers say that it is a really unique spectacle and that the structure is not only something to admire, but a great public space for lots of fun activities over the summer.

close-up on structure