Member of the Week | Mark Wilkinson

Walpole’s latest Member of the Week is leading luxury interior designer Mark Wilkinson. Creatively inspired, individual and hand crafted with meticulous attention to quality and detail: all hallmarks of the brand, whose kitchens and furniture are still made in the West Country of England, just a few miles from the birthplace of this much-loved British company.

For more than three decades, Mark Wilkinson has been meticulously designing and handcrafting traditional cabinetry in its West Country workshops. The brand is synonymous with exacting English workmanship and age-old, by-hand techniques. The pieces produced here are objets d’art of timeless design that stand the test of time. Everything turned out of the Mark Wilkinson workshop is produced by artisans, many of whom are third-generation joiners whoseskills have been passed down by family members, year-on-year working with a broader diversity of materials and finishes.

Mark Wilkinson is best known for its finest-quality fitted furniture including kitchens, dressing rooms, studies and media rooms, with designs that appeal to consumers who do not believe 21st-century technologies and traditional,quality craftsmanship should be mutually exclusive.

Globally, increasing value is attached to craftsmanship of the highest standard,integrity and finish. This could explain why Canburg, the Wiltshire-based luxury furniture group that owns this quintessentially British brand, is experiencing an exponential growth in international sales and is fast evolving as a key champion for quality British products on the global stage. It has been listed in 18th place by this year’s Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 – up ten places on last year. This is the definitive guide for Britain’s top 200 companies with the fastest-growing international sales. The founder, Mark Wilkinson himself, is a gifted cabinetmaker who started out in 1981, imbuing his warm,creative and welcoming kitchens with hand-carved detailing, and carefully ornamenting the reclaimed timber to craft a new English country style. He was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his services to the furniture-making industry. The company has stayed true to its roots, and, inspired by the founder’s passion for bespoke and sustainable furniture, is still known for forward-thinking fresh creativity within a strong context of a rich heritage and artisanal tradition.

Mark Wilkinson’s Furniture Alchemy is best known for its six ‘permanent’collections, albeit bespoke cabinetry and individual pieces are also par for the course. These range from fluidly elegant ‘Milan’, neoclassical ‘English Classic’and whitewashed timber-clad ‘New England’, to the timeless Edwardian-influenced elegance of ‘Cook’s Kitchen’ and the ‘Newlyn Collection’, which is inspired by the eponymous school of Victorian-era Cornish art.The Mark Wilkinson Showroom on London’s Holland Park Avenue has been completely re-planned and is the perfect place to weigh up the differences between the signature Newlyn and New England collections, which propose two entirely different kitchen experiences.

‘Portobello’, the latest collection, launched this year, is showcased equally beautifully in Mark Wilkinson’s entirely reimagined space in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. ‘Portobello’ is inspired by the vintage eclecticism and confident style of the eponymous West London district. The Harrogate showroom acts as an ample context for Portobello’s sweeping marble tops and elegant storage and display solutions for wines. This magnificent high-ceilinged space replete with architectural detail is an apposite choice for the new work.It expresses perfectly the contrapuntal spirit behind Mark Wilkinson’s designs,which suggest carefully considered solutions to modern living while paying homage to the most treasured aesthetics of the past.