David Krynauw was born in 1984 in Piet Retief, a forestry town in Mpumalanga. He grew up sharing an enormous passion for wood and woodwork with his father, who moved the family to a farm on the Swaziland border and planted a Eucalyptus Saligna plantation.
Krynauw studied agriculture and winemaking at the University of Stellenbosch, and upon completing his studies in 2006, he worked as a winemaker locally and in the US. But he never stopped making furniture and in 2007, moved back to the family farm to start his own woodworking business.
As his methods have evolved, so has his design language. Driven by the desire for a fresh approach, he experiments with different shapes and forms to produce unconventional and inspiring pieces. His Haywire Chandelier, produced for Southern Guild, is an international best-seller that sold at London Christie’s and won the Object that Moves Award at the 2016 Design Foundation Awards.
Now based in Johannesburg, Krynauw’s factory is part of Victoria Yards in the inner city, a hub of artisans’ and artists’ studios that incorporates an urban farm and social development initiatives. Consistently pushing the boundaries of his chosen medium, Krynauw has ventured from production furniture and collectible design to architectural projects. Using CNC technology, he designed a way of working with a 3-axis machine to fabricate wooden components that can be joined to create anything from a chair to a building, a process he calls “the Joburg method”. His first range produced in this way won the Designer of the Year Award at 100% Design South Africa in 2015.
In 2016, he erected his first building, an arched, open-air chapel in Morningside, Johannesburg, which was followed by a Cape Dutch-style building for the Kleine Rijke events venue in Hartbeespoort. He is currently developing a range of architectural elements that include green houses, housing pods, low-cost housing solutions, doors and windows.
Through Southern Guild, Krynauw has exhibited his collectible works – including the more recent Jeppestown Bench and Jeppestown Play Bench – all over the world. With each new project, he sets himself difficult technical challenges that simultaneously explore the art of woodwork.