David Krynauw was born in 1984 in the forestry town of Piet Retief. His dad, Dawie, owned the Town Hotel and decided to make the furniture for it instead of buying it. David and Dawie share an enormous passion for wood and woodwork. David loved helping out and learned a lot from his dad growing up. When he was 13 years old, they sold the hotel and moved to a farm outside of Piet Retief on the Swaziland border where Dawie started a Eucalyptus Saligna Plantation. David continued to experiment with woodwork throughout his high school years.
He went off to Stellenbosch where he studied Agriculture and Winemaking. During his holidays, he made furniture pieces for extra money to get himself through varsity. Upon completing his studies, he worked as a winemaker in Hermanus and America for several months but the idea of making furniture never left his mind. In 2007, He decided to leave everything behind and moved back to the family farm in order to start his business. He spent months experimenting and perfecting his craft. In 2008, he decided to enter his Dome Pendant Cluster into the Eskom Lighting Design Competition, which earned him a first prize and placed him on the map. Following this, he exhibited at Design Indaba and his Dome Pendant Cluster was named a finalist for the Most Beautiful Object. He spent the next few years working from the farm and doing exhibitions in Johannesburg. In 2014, The Southern Guild approached him to design a light for an exhibition. He produced The Haywire, which won the object that moves award. He exhibited this in various countries, including Japan, Miami, Basel, London and Dubai. His Haywire sold at London Christies, which turned it into a collectable and international seller.
At this stage, he was commuting between Johannesburg and Piet Retief, making up to two trips a day. In 2014, he decided to move to Johannesburg along with his two trusted workers who started the journey with him (they are still working for him today).
In 2015, David went to Ligna. It is a woodwork and timber processing expo held biannually in Germany. He experienced CNC technology firsthand and realized how great a difference it will make in his business. The 5-axis machine that he needed was way above his budget. He could, however, afford a 3-axis machine. He came back home and designed a way of working with a 3-axis machine to achieve the desired results. This process became the Joburg method. It is a design language that allows him to design anything – from a chair to a building – using parts and joining them in a certain way. He designed a prototype – the Kas 1, and produced it on a local 3-axis machine. The results were amazing. He then bought the 3-axis machine and started preparing for the 100% Design Show, which was a month away at this stage. Using his new language, he built all the pieces on show and won the Designer of the Year award.
Pushing the method has always been in the back of David’s mind. He knew that he could take it further than Furniture. In December of 2016, he erected his first building as a proof of concept, using the timber grown by his dad. It is a beautiful chapel, situated in Morningside, Johannesburg. His business continued to grow steadily. By the end of 2016, he had 30 employees and roughly 10 corporate clients. In early 2017, he decided to move his factory to form part of the Victoria Yards Artisanal Hub development, situated in Bezuidenhout Valley. He employed a further 30 people off the street and trained them within the different areas of his business, which includes the likes of joining, assembling, sanding, upholstery, steelwork, finishing, CNC Programming and Designing.
His business continued to grow as he worked a lot with Nandos, which is a great supporter of South African Makers. In December 2017, David took on his first major architectural project for Kleine Rijke; an up and coming food market and venue in Hartbeespoort. He took inspiration from the Cape Dutch style of building and worked with his Architect sister from Khanya Architects to develop what is sure to be a magnificent space. He currently has six designers working in-house and regularly offers internships to work with and train young talent.
David and his team are currently working equally hard on evolving his furniture range as well as designing and developing a ‘Build’ range, which will include elements like Green Houses, Housing Pods, Low-Cost Housing Solutions, Doors, Windows, and Buildings. He believes that God has given him an opportunity to do what he really loves and he is doing it to the best of his abilities.