Interview: Camille Walala on her giant 3D installation inspired by childhood funfair visits

Camille tells us about designing a giant maze and spot-the-difference game full of mirrors, bold colours, patterns, and geometric shapes for a gallery in London.

Around 600 people, young and old, showed up to graphic artist Camille Walala’s first 3D installation and giant spot-the-difference game at NOW Gallery.

The extravagant installation at Greenwich Peninsula is a giant maze full of mirrors, Camille’s iconic tribal pop art style of bold colours and patterns, and giant geometric shapes. It’s designed to be an immersive experience that encourages a "sense of confusion", and childhood excitement.

Walala x Play will occupy the main exhibition area until September 24 as part of the gallery’s summer programme. It’s free entry and open to all ages.

Photographs in this feature by Charles Emerson.

Camille took inspiration from funfairs she visited as a child, and wanted to expand on the idea of playfulness. Moving through her construction of narrow corridors, open spaces, mirrors, suspended shapes and patterns, viewers can experience the unpredictable designs.

The 3D spot-the-difference game is designed with broken geometries and distorted patterns. Visitors will be challenged with spotting all the differences, and can share their findings on social media. The gallery has high ceilings, and typically many of its installations hang from the ceiling.

But Camille’s blocks of wood create a contrast in the space that’s effective, bold, bright and joyful, she says.

Far from random placement, the curves, angles and shapes of the installation are positioned with reference to Greenwich Peninsula itself, as commissioned by the gallery. The Thames, buildings that surround the area and the relationship of these components.

Seen from above, using the gallery stairs, there is a clear and fluid relationship between the walls of the installation and the aerial view of the wider area. Although this sounds all rather mathematical, Camille says she prefers her work to not be perfectly geometric; it’s all about the balance.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Camille worked closely with an architect, and the team at NOW Gallery who set her a brief six months ago. After creating 3D models of the layout – quite different to her normal digital renders – the physical installation was constructed and painted within one month.

Camille says, having never created a project of such large scale, she was "nervous until the end" as the project was "a bit of a gamble", and her and the team were like "kids at Christmas" when pulling the plastic off the mirrors to see the final effect.

Although the project was somewhat stressful – there was no time or budget to make changes – Camille thrived on the challenge and interaction, saying this is the most exciting exhibition she’s completed.

Camille’s signature tribal-pop style has taken her on projects across the globe, to transform homes, shops and bars. Drawing influence from the Memphis Movement, Ndebele tribe and op-art master Victor Vasarely, her playful, graphic patterns embody positivity.

Her next project is to paint a psychiatric hospital, of which she says she’ll use a "toned down colour palette" and simple shapes.

Advertisement. Article continues below