Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Age: 29 (Grant) and 31 (Teresa).
Occupation: Co-founders of Wilkinson & Rivera.
Hometown: Kent (Grant) and New York (Teresa).
Studio location: East London.
Describe what you make: We’re a design firm and makers of handmade timber furniture. Our company’s ethos is rooted in responsible manufacturing, and we make our work to order or in small batches. We’re inspired by tried-and-tested traditional processes—they ensure the quality and longevity of our work. We’re always looking to visual motifs of the past and like to reimagine them through a modern, often surrealist lens.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: It always changes. The research and development of a new product takes months and months, so every launch feels like the most important thing at the time. We recently launched our inaugural sofa—the Peonia Sofa for London-based retailer and manufacturer SCP—at this year’s London Design Festival. The sofa is 100 percent plastic free, instead made of wool, coir, and hessian. This was our first time developing a design for others to manufacture. We really enjoyed the collaborative way of working and are keen to do more.
Describe the problem your work solves: The norms of the furniture industry are deeply flawed—mass production, poor quality, rampant throwaway culture. It’s a mess. We like to think that small studios like ours are an antidote. We always say we aim to make the next heirlooms. We want to be sure our work lasts. In terms of who we are as designers, the London design scene is a bit institutional and we’re definitely outsiders. We’re hoping interest in our work leaves the door cracked for others.
Describe the project you’re working on now: A new collection! It will consist of a dining chair, bar stool, and bedside table. Aesthetically, it marries Jacobean carving with contemporary ubiquity. This will be furniture for the everyday and available at a more democratic price point. We’ve been working towards making our work more accessible.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re aiming for an April launch but can’t give much else away, lest we jinx ourselves!
What you absolutely must have in your studio: For Grant, tea. English Breakfast to be specific, though in the U.K. it’s just called tea. We also both need coffee on site. Luckily there’s the loveliest cafe attached to our workshop space. It’s a blessing and a curse, really.
What you do when you’re not working: We’re always chasing our three-year-old around. We live near Hampstead Heath, which is such a blessing. It’s a wild park in the middle of North London that has wilderness, meadows, natural swimming ponds—everything. It makes up for apartment living, for sure.
Sources of creative envy (dead or alive): JB Blunk springs to mind. We’re working on a little something inspired by his house in Inverness. It’s quite a fun brief.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Rogue salesmen, maybe? We get a lot of calls and emails from people trying to sell ad placements, shipping services, etc. We’re good, thanks.
Concrete or marble? Concrete (Grant). Marble (Teresa).
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.