Journal

LDF19: Walala Lounge

In a world increasingly overwhelmed with bustle and distraction, all steps taken to enhance our public spaces are more vital than ever. Camille Walala’s distinctive style is a wonderful injection of colour to South Molton’s 200m pedestrian walkway. With ten benches, planters dotted around and flags overhead – all patterned in Walala’s characteristically uplifting geometric prints – South Molton street is transformed into an appealing social hub.

Walala Lounge was commissioned by Grosvenor Britain and Ireland with City of London for London Design Festival 2019. When we went along to check it out, it seemed such a brilliant contribution to liven up the space, its temporary nature is bitter-sweet. Passing through the street, it was refreshing to see how Walala’s installation had really engaged members of the public. Alongside the typical Instagram-tourists, who were enlisting the vibrant benches and planters as the backdrop to their newest post, were those sitting with their coffees, having a break from their hectic days, as well as friends propped on Walala’s creations to have a chat.

“Camille Walala decided to make a positive and practical contribution to the London streetscape. Until now, South Molton, the fully pedestrianised street just off the madcap bustle of Oxford Street, has not offered the public a place to pause.”

Walala Lounge Exhibit

There is often not enough appreciation for the simple pleasure of taking a moment to sit and stop for a while. It is so beneficial for our productivity to not only clear our minds but to enjoy the outside. London has recently been named the world’s first ‘National Park City’, in a bid to encourage residents to go greener and utilise their green spaces. Camille Walala is on the right track in implementing planters in the streetscapes as well, and hopefully, this bid will encourage more to address the question of how we use public spaces. Especially in urban surroundings.

“Camille Walala Specialises in transforming spaces with a vibrant blend of colour and pattern. Seen in venues and adorning buildings across London, Sydney, New York and beyond, her designs are instantly recognisable, explode with energy and are engineered to evoke a smile in anyone who sees them. Soon we will all be in Walala-land, and a good thing too: It’s a happy place.”

Walala Lounge Exhibit

Seeing the success of Walala Lounge on South Molton during London Design Festival, we hope more campaigns emerge, turning our urban streets into a place where instead of rushing through them, we can socialise, relax and enjoy them.

“Cities can be so grey, it can feel really oppressive sometimes. I want to change how it feels to live in a big city, to inject some colour and light into people’s days. It means so much to me when I can make people smile. That’s how I feel I can have the most impact on the world. To take what I care about and share it with others.”

Camille Walala