Furniture with a Story to Tell

Manapan is a unique business owned and operated by Yolngu, the indigenous people who have lived in Arnhem Land for over 50,000 years. Started by Ramvek’s founding director, Mark White, Manapan is a self-sufficient, self-funding company backed by ALPA, a not for profit Aboriginal corporation, and the biggest employer of Aboriginal people in Australia.

Under the guidance of master craftsman, Rob Crisfield, the locals of Arnhem Land can learn the skills needed to produce and provide quality, world-class pieces of furniture for domestic, commercial and institutional interiors to a national market. Manapan has support from the local school with work experience programs, as well as ALPA/CDP, who are training locals with the valuable skills required to join the Manapan team.

Each piece of Manapan furniture is custom-designed by some of Australia’s leading furniture designers, including Chloe Walbran, Susie Stanford, Ashleigh Parker, Alexsandra Pontonio, Liz Doube and Jon Mikulic. The designs are then brought to life by the talented local men and women of the Milingimbi community in Arnhem Land, 500 kilometres east of Darwin. The result is exquisite hand-crafted Australian furniture with a heartening story.

The unique pieces combine traditional art and materials of the Milingimbi community with contemporary, first-class design. The timber used is locally sourced from Gumatj Clan in Nhulunbuy. The furniture engages artists within local communities, with some of the pieces incorporating art from Miligimbi, Ramingining and Central Australia such as woven textiles and paintings.

Manapan furnitureManapan Furniture was set up to provide employment and teach valuable skills to the people of Arnhem Land. The business aims to create a sustainable future for the children, grandchildren and future generations of the local men and women working for Manapan today.

Ramvek’s founding director, Mark White donated a lot of his time during the setup of Manapan. He explains, “In my mind was a vision of beautiful, handmade Australian furniture which could sit comfortably in the foyer of a corporate office or in the sitting room of a luxury apartment. I also wanted the furniture to incorporate indigenous Australian art and showcase the local skills and beautiful materials found in Arnhem Land.”

Yolngu have a rich and diligent history, having traded with the Masassan and Chinese for over 500 years before the European settlement of Australia. Manapan continues this tradition, showcasing the talents of some of our great Australian designers along with the skills of the Arnhem Land people.

Manapan has recently launched their website, created by Melbourne-based creative and digital agency, Metronome. The content-rich website tells the wonderful story of Manapan, while showcasing the incredible quality and detail of the furniture pieces. Teaming up with renowned photographer Chris Tovo, Metronome have also created a coffee table book that encapsulates the remarkable art and craftsmanship involved in this life-changing project.

If you are interested in having a unique Manapan piece individually crafted to suit your needs, or if you would just like to chat about the furniture, please contact Manapan on 0417 949 342 or

Manapan furniture


Manapan furniture