Jorja Wilki ‘n’ Son – Two Designers’ Journey Through War

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Jorja Wilki c. 2012

First making serious tracks in radical design in the mid 60s, Jorja Wilki has always been known for breaking the mould. With his bold and fearless takes on design staples such as the wall, door and floor – he’s never been one to stick by the rule book, going as far as designing an entire building without any of the aforementioned properties. The 60s were a time of massive design overhaul. Those that had lived through World Wars wanted to enjoy life, but not within the constraints that were previously laid down. As a result, big new ideas from the world of interiors started making waves. Riding on this metaphorical wave, on a recently popularised conceptual surfboard was Wilki. By the time the 70s had hit home, his influence was known throughout his native town of Ilfracombe, even reaching as far as nearby Watermouth.

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An example of Estevez’ early experimental work. c. 1986

However, by the mid-seventies, Wilki had hit a creative slump (his last design feat, Mrs. Butterworth’s Kitchen Extension, being widely panned by critics) and decided to take the several thousand pounds he had accumulated through the years and retire. A child was born, Estevez Wilki in 1979, though Jorja tried to love him; his perceived artistic drought left him bereft of passion and he resigned himself to a life of solitary thought and sudoku, with the occasional cream tea. The child grew strong and, even without the influence of his father, began design work at the age of 7. A pioneer of design before the age of 10, Estevez worked in the medium of Lego to create ‘A Conservatory for Mummy.’ A breakthrough in the realms of extension work, as well as causing a revelation within the most exclusive of design circles – the Wilki name was back, but not like before.

Years later, leafing through Architect’s Digest, whilst waiting for a routine prostate check up; Jorja stumbled across a double page spread of his son’s ’84 magnum opus ‘From Spaceship to Toilet Block’ and was stunned by the libellous use of his own surname. It was only after contacting his lawyer that he discovered the paternal connection that he shared with young Estevez. Having recently moved into a mobile home, for ease of transportation, Jorja wasted no time in seeking out his estranged son and officially forming Jorja Wilki ‘n’ Son. By channelling his son’s raw creative power through a spectrum of newly found familial love and his own, now classic, avant-garde methods; the two would go on to change the face of North Devon interior design and conservatory planning for years to come.