Wilkinson & Rivera reinvent traditional wooden furniture from their London workshop

Wallpaper* Future Icons: Wilkinson & Rivera’s Grant Wilkinson and Teresa Rivera are reinventing furniture classics in wood

Wilkinson & Rivera
Left: Grant Wilkinson and Teresa Rivera in their London workshop. Right: ‘Of Nature - Whipped’ chair by Wilkinson & Rivera, from SCP, £4,800.00. Photography: Neil Godwin at Future Studios for Wallpaper*
(Image credit: Future)

Grant Wilkinson and Teresa Rivera are the duo behind furniture studio Wilkinson & Rivera. Both attracted to woodworking, Rivera learned by assisting a Brooklyn cabinetmaker and Wilkinson approached the craft at Bellerby & Co. Globemakers in London (‘mostly because I knew [wood] was Teresa’s thing and I was trying to impress her’, he explains). 

Having studied at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and London’s Camberwell College of Arts respectively, they opened their workshop and collaborative practice in 2020 after further experiences in set design and furniture sourcing, and developed a unique style informed by classic furniture with a twist. 

Wilkinson & Rivera Windsor and Windsor for kids chairs

‘Windsor’ chair and ‘Child's Windsor’

(Image credit: Courtesy Wilkinson & Rivera)

Wilkinson & Rivera's furniture pieces offer a contemporary, slightly surrealist twist on furniture classics: take the 'Windsor', a piece that faithfully reproduces the forms of the 16th-century chair with the addition of a serpentine silhouette. Similarly, 'La Silla' is inspired by the classic Queen Anne chair, with the same wiggly motif, and this approach is taken to the highest level with the ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’; featuring hand-carved twists and a natural black finish achieved through scorching the wood.

Most recently, the duo started a collaboration with London furniture emporium SCP, creating the 'Of Nature' collection (unveiled at London Design Festival 2022).Inspired by Verb List, an artwork from 1967 by the radical American sculptor Richard Serra, the collection features four chair designs, nodding to Serra’s handwritten compendium of what he called 'actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process'). The four designs (each connecting the form to an action and thus called 'Puffed', 'Wilted', 'Whipped', and 'Rippled') are characterised by the studio's original take on classic forms, resulting in a mix of nostalgia, technical experimentation and organic forms.

Welsh Stick Chair by Wilkinson and Rivera

The Welsh Stick Chair

(Image credit: Courtesy Wilkinson & Rivera)

‘We like the sense of illusion our work brings – our response to classical hardwood furniture has a tendency towards the surreal,’ says Wilkinson. To create their pieces, they use a mix of steam-bending, carving and weaving. ‘We look at the process and how it evokes action,’ continues Rivera. ‘By starting with movement or action, we uncover interesting forms to investigate. We keep distorting them until we find something suitably weird and pleasing.’

Although the pair now hope to branch out into new materials (such as stone and metal, overlapped with woodworking), wood maintains a special place for the studio: ‘You could dedicate your entire life to understanding wood and only skim the surface,’ explains Wilkinson. ‘The timber we work with has come from trees much older than us – there’s a significance to using it that keeps you honest.’


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.