We are delighted to present four specially made chairs by Wilkinson & Rivera, as part of the Almost Instinct exhibition at the SCP showroom on Curtain Road during the London Design Festival 2022.
For London Design Fesitval 2022 Wilkinson & Rivera present Of Nature, four one-off chair designs that are the beginning of a larger body of work. Initially inspired by “Verb List”, an artwork from 1967 by the radical American sculptor Richard Serra. Serra’s Verb List is a handwritten compilation of what he called “actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process.” The four chair designs are addressed by Wilkinson & Rivera as actions.
Titled Puffed, Wilted, Whipped, and Rippled, the designs are made from four different woods and each piece is an exploration of the notion of a simple four-legged chair, with different styles.
Puffed: a soft design rounded by hand, giving a cushioned feel to a rigid material. Made from Spalted Beech.
Wilted: a design indicative of nature’s organic forms, achieved by soaking green timber then steam-bending it to shape. Made from London Plane.
Whipped: a carved design, inspired by shapes prevalent in ceramics, prompting nostalgia of childhood treats. Made from Yew.
Rippled: a flowing design with features that have been quartered and reconfigured, which embodies the deconstruction of the rigid qualities of timber. Made from Rippled Maple.
Each design touches upon traditional woodworking processes: steam-bending, hand-turning, carving, and hand-cut joinery. The duo uses these processes to manipulate the wood in a way that progresses what’s expected of timber furniture.
Grant Wilkinson and Teresa Rivera
Wilkinson & Rivera’s aim is two-fold. On one hand they strive to give an honest representation about the nature of working with timber – embracing its supposed “defects” and unique characteristics. On the other, they’re pushing the forms of timber with hopes of advancing a considerably traditional material, using contemporary design principles.
The chairs are all made from sustainable British timber, all of which has been felled and saved from becoming chips or firewood. The timber chosen includes ‘character’ features, such as spalting and rippling. Uniformity when using character timber is unachievable, as their features are circumstantial and determined by natural happenings. Spalting is a fungal infection. Rippling is caused by compression of the tree’s grain. By choosing to embrace these unpredictabilities, Wilkinson & Rivera are relinquishing some control over the final outcome. Each piece is inherently unique and dictated by the tree from which it was made.
All of the pieces are hand-made at the Wilkinson & Rivera workshop in Walthamstow, east London, and all display both a mastery of woodworking and a little eccentricity. They are pieces that celebrate the flexibility of wood as a material.