August 19, 2021
 Calcium by Wilkinson & Rivera as shown in the Fels Exhibition. Photo Courtesy of Wilkinson & Rivera.

Creative Humans: Say hello to Wilkinson & Rivera.

By Nabi Williams.

 In this edition of The Humanist, we introduce East London-based furniture designers and partners Teresa Rivera and Grant Wilkinson of Wilkinson & Rivera. With backgrounds in fine art, set building, and interior design, the duo sees Wilkinson & Rivera as a return to their love of making furniture.

With their playful and beautifully crafted furniture, we admire Wilkinson & Rivera for their appreciation and respect for the age-old craft of furniture making, though we noticed them for their fresh take on classic design.

 A portrait of Teresa Rivera (left) and Grant Wilkinson (right). Photo Courtesy of Wilkinson & Rivera.


Teresa Rivera & Grant Wilkinson

Company Founded



East London, United Kingdom 


Company Profile 

Handmade furniture, made in London.

Wilkinson & Rivera’s Windsor as shown in the Fels Exhibition . Photo Courtesy of Wilkinson & Rivera.

How do you use design for good? 
Grant: We spend a lot of time considering the context of our work, and are careful to pay homage to the history of the processes and materials we use. For example, we weave our cane seats by hand - choosing craftsmanship over the convenience of machine-made products. Fast manufacturing and the throw-away culture, which is now ubiquitous in the furniture industry, is something we’re trying to combat. By slowing down the making process, we aim to create a richer piece of work with its own story.

What keeps you in the game / focused mentally?
Teresa: Working in tandem with one another means we always have a sounding board. Even chores around the house can spark an idea or conversation.

What place or space makes you feel most alive? Most like home?
Grant: We’re blessed to have London’s museums on our doorstep. We love wandering around the V&A or the Design Museum, especially with our son in tow. Feeling inspired can be such a buzz and we’re always so eager to get back to work after these visits.

Joy of work or work for joy?
Grant: We love what we do - it still amazes us that we get to make a living this way.  Every now and then, we do have to step back, ignore the never-ending to-do list, and enjoy the day.

What is most misunderstood about design/art/creativity?
Teresa: That it is somehow for some but not others. Everything is ‘Design’ and anyone can be creative - it’s just finding what interests you.

What would be a dream project to realize? Set the scene!
Grant: It would be amazing to do something big and sculptural in a public space. I think Richard Serra or Franz West, sculptures on an incredible scale which dominate the space they’re in. They grab your attention and make you really consider your relationship to them. To induce that kind of self-awareness through a designed object is a powerful thing.

Teresa: Agreed! When I was a kid, my mom took us to Central Park to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘Gates’ installation. It’s such a clear memory - looking at what felt like a sudden change to the park we knew. I remember feeling so small under those giant orange flags. It’s a memory I’m quite grateful for and an experience we’d definitely like to try and create ourselves.

If you could collaborate with anyone (current or historical), who would it be?
Teresa: At the moment, Charlotte Perriand. I’d love to pick her brain. We’re quite drawn to her later work and her found sculptures. As a designer she smashed through the glass ceiling, changed the fundamentals of design, then proceeded to change them all again.

Wilkinson & Rivera at work. Photo Courtesy of Wilkinson & Rivera.