Thessaly Road

Location: Thessaly Road, Nine Elms
Date: 2019
Status: Permanent
Client: Wandsworth Council

The Thessaly Road Railway Bridge competition was organised as part of the London Festival of Architecture in partnership with Wandsworth Council. The winning design, Happy Street was the artist Yinka Ilori’s first public realm commission, and transformed the dark space beneath the old railway bridge in Wandsworth into a welcoming space for pedestrians and cyclists, which the local community can be proud of.


‘Happy Street’ by Yinka Ilori

‘Happy Street’ by Yinka Ilori © Luke O’Donovan


Happy Street is an interactive installation that floods the underpass with colour and light. The walls of the underpass and the bridge to either side are clad with 56 richly patterned vitreous enamel panels forming a low-cost, durable and cheerful surface. Inspired by colour theory, Yinka Ilori used 16 different colours for happiness and wellbeing. At night the underpass is illuminated, enhancing the structure as a new local landmark, and giving users a greater sense of safety as well as pleasure as they pass through what was hitherto a very ordinary and forbidding environment.


Yinka Ilori has sought to encourage users of the underpass to become more aware of environment around them – for instance in the bright colours that reference the spectacular Thames sunsets that residents of Nine Elms can enjoy. Together with the team at Wandsworth Council, Yinka Ilori has worked closely during the development of the project with local residents and nearby St George’s C of E Primary School, helping to empower people to engage with and shape their local neighbourhood as it continues to undergo major new development and change.


Yinka Ilori is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose bold visual language draws on his British-Nigerian heritage to convey new narratives through contemporary design. Drawing on Nigerian parables and verbal traditions, Ilori touches on a multitude of themes that resonate with a global audience.

More Competitions.