Andrew Dominic - image credit James Darling

Maverick meets British furniture designer-maker Andrew Dominic

Andrew Dominic Furniture is a brand that is synonymous with quality and authenticity. Their signature collections and custom, hand-crafted commissions have garnered the attention of renowned interior designers, architects and private clients across the globe, and it’s easy to see why. The business draws on over a decade of craftsmanship to produce furniture that is both timeless and elegant. The opening of their second workshop, here in the South Hams, ushers in an exciting new chapter for Andrew Dominic Furniture, which began in Cape Town, South Africa, more than 10 years ago. We caught up with the man behind the brand to learn more about his creative process and the appeal of Devon’s south coast…  

Andrew, when did you discover your passion for furniture design?

I enjoyed dabbling in woodwork from a young age, in my dad’s workshop and tinkering with maintenance on our family boat, growing up here in Devon. But it was later on that I discovered my desire to pursue a career in woodwork, whilst working on classic yachts in the Mediterranean. As a crew member I got involved in the interior refit of a 100m classic Schooner when we were based in Gloucester Docks, which opened my eyes to new possibilities. At the time I was very set on boats and the sea, but I knew essentially that I had to follow a creative path to have a fully satisfying career.

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

It’s always been my intention to try to let the beauty of wood be part of the design. At both our workshops, here in Devon and in Cape Town, we produce handcrafted pieces using age-old methods and time-honoured skills.

What aspects of design do you find most exciting?

The refinement phase, where I move forward and backwards with possibilities to ultimately find the resting place in the design. Often this is reached after making a piece a couple of times – because I naturally design by making. I really enjoy the creative process of working through ideas to get to the essence of a design. But of course, it’s also hard not to get excited when a large delivery of raw timber arrives at my workshop!

Andrew Dominic Furniture 2
Andrew Dominic Furniture 2

Which item of furniture from your collection best represents your brand?

Our Noah Drinks Cabinet, because it embodies our style of design and encapsulates our process of designing to refine and resolve; it is elegant but importantly it is also a practical, functional piece. I liken it to a classic yacht. It has timeless lines but is first and foremost about functionality, and all the detailed design solutions are concealed within an aesthetically pleasing form. I like to think we’ve captured that essence in the design of this cabinet.

What role does your wife Susie play in the day-to-day running of the business?

My wife Susie has believed in me the whole way, sharing the load and challenges of every step. She’s more of an idealist where I am a realist, and as business partners I’ve appreciated our symbiotic decision making. With a degree in Graphic Design & Photography, she manages the brand development and website, along with most of the daily client communications. The business wouldn’t be where it is today without her!

How have you ensured that the business remains both responsible and sustainable?

We’re very aware that our industry has a direct impact on the environment, so we see it as our responsibility to make sure that our impact is a positive one. Being responsible and working sustainably is at the heart of our business, but we believe that sustainability isn’t a destination – it’s a  process of being aware, staying open to learning and improving. We only use select hardwoods from sustainably managed forests, as close to the source as possible, and natural non-toxic oil with water-based finishes and glues. We’re working towards making our workshops zero-carbon and manage our wood waste by composting it, taking it back to the natural life cycle.

Andrew Dominic Furniture 2
Andrew Dominic Furniture 2

Do your Devon and your South African commissions differ in any way?

Not hugely, but then again, it’s still early days. We are already starting to see more interior designers requesting bespoke items here in the UK, so it could possibly be that this personalised and bespoke approach will be an area of difference – in South Africa the driving force of our custom comes primarily from our core collections.

What led you to return to Devon?

To slow down, have more space and time; to return to the wholesome, calm of the Devon coast and countryside. For myself and our three young children.

Discover more about Andrew Dominic Furniture and explore their collection at www.andrewdominicfurniture.com