Sylvanus Woodcraft Ltd is owned by Sylvanus Onipede, who was born in Hackney in the East End of London in 1966, to Nigerian parents. They returned to Lagos with the family soon after his birth.
At the age of 16, Sylvanus gained a place to study cabinet and furniture making at the Trade Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied there for three years, worked for a local furniture manufacturer and started his own small business.
In 1987 he returned to London, and a year later continued his studies in furniture design at the London College of Furniture (now Guildhall University) under Bob Thornhill. He worked on his own projects, and did some contract and voluntary work for charity.
In 1990, he set up his own business, Sylvanus Woodcraft Ltd, with the help of the Prince’s Trust, in central Hackney. He rented space in Regents Studios for a few years, before acquiring an independent workshop just across the river in Bermondsey SE16. He now lives in Kennington/Oval, SE11, bordering on SW9, five minutes from Brixton, and a 20 minute bike-ride to the workshop, but maintains close personal and professional links with east London.
He undertakes individual commissions, as well as collaborating on larger projects with architects, interior designers and other contractors.
Sylvanus lost his hearing at the age of 13 to meningitis, but since 1997 has been aided by a cochlear implant. He loves music and is an enthusiastic salsa and tango dancer in his spare time.