I meet Andrew Dominic in the mid-afternoon bustle of his workshop in Observatory, Cape Town, ducking between machinery and the upturned grace of a dining table’s cabriole leg. Dominic grew up in Devon, England, first 
encountering carpentry in the workshop of his father, a DIY-mad chemistry teacher.

Andrew Dominic
Andrew Dominic

After completing maritime studies at university in Liverpool, Dominic spent most of his 20s at sea. “Wood really became beautiful through sailing and fishing boats,” he recalls. He would knuckle down in boatyards, helping with classic yacht refits in the south of France. 

When he and his Joburg-born wife decided to head back to land, they moved to Cape Town in 2009, where her parents had settled.Carrying on working with wood was an obvious choice. He chose furniture because “I wanted to do my own thing and be creative. And to be creative with yacht building would involve spending six years studying naval architecture,” he says wryly. 

Before setting up his workshop, Dominic spent a year in David Savage’s Devon atelier on a fine furniture course, honing his practical skills and getting a new found appreciation for the design process. Having relished doing “a top-end job for a top-end client that appreciates it” when he worked on yachts, he enjoyed the course’s intimate, artisanal focus. Initially private commissions and client work formed the bulk of his workshop’s output.

These included producing pieces for Cabinetworks, a premium kitchen company, and, until last year, the manufacturing of Haldane Martin’s furniture designs. While custom jobs and contracts such as producing oak coin boxes for the South African Mint still form an important part of the  business, Dominic is increasingly focusing on making  his own designs. Late last year, he launched his signature furniture range, which includes bar stools, tables, and a drinks cabinet. 

“I’m not following the design scene very much to see what’s trending and what’s not,” Dominic says. With elegance and originality as hallmarks, he describes his aesthetic as “contemporary classic” – he wants to achieve “a classic beauty, even though it’s new. A timeless design that doesn’t phase out, which is not really based on a trend”. Passing on the lessons he learnt from Savage to his seven craftsmen, he is confident that “we’re achieving a quality level that is hard to find here. We’re doing things, as much as we can, on an international standard. My bar for quality is very high.” andrewdominicfurniture.com

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