Manapan & Ramvek, a Collaboration
Exquisite custom furniture designed in Melbourne and hand-crafted by the talented Yolngu people from the Milingimbi Island community in Arnhem Land, utilising Australian timber.
That is the essence of Manapan Furniture, a company we’re deeply proud to have been associated with since Ramvek’s own founding director Mark White started it in association with the not-for-profit Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) to develop skills and provide employment pathways.
In my mind was a vision of beautiful, handmade Australian timber 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.
– Mark White, founding director of Ramvek and founder of Manapan Furniture
With our master craftsman Rob Crisfield heading up the team of local Indigenous workers, we’re delighted to say Mark’s vision has come true with Manapan Furniture’s bespoke creations being well received within the high-end market as evidenced by our recent collaboration on interior fitout projects such as furnishing Melbourne Airport’s boardroom and CEO’s office.
In Mark’s words: ‘‘In my mind was a vision of beautiful, handmade Australian timber 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.”
Although much of Manapan’s work is completed under Rob’s guidance on Milingimbi, 500km east of Darwin, Ramvek has been delighted to host team members at our in-house manufacturing facility in Melbourne during our collaborations.
Having played an instrumental role in Manapan’s set-up and as an ongoing supporter as it continues to evolve, we’re thrilled that the traditional custodians of Arnhem Land, the Yolngu people, own and operate what is a successful, self-sufficient and self-funded enterprise.
With support by ALPA, the largest employer of Aboriginal people in Australia, Manapan provides work experience programs for the students of the local school – building on the students’ skills, talents and interests – while also bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people as they build relationships through working together.
The Manapan Academy provides training for local people in carpentry and joinery skills, with the vision that they will combine these skills with their creative talents to enable them to graduate to the main workshop. This pathway to full-time employment doubles as a celebration of their traditional talents and contemporary skills.
The timber used to create the unique furniture is locally sourced from Gumatj, an Aboriginal Corporation in Nhulunbuy, and blended with sustainably-harvested, specialty Australian timbers.
The concepts for Manapan’s stunning pieces come from some of the most respected furniture designers in Australia: Liz Doube, Jon Mikulic, Ashleigh Parker, Alexsandra Pontonio, Suzie Stanford and Chloe Walbran. Through a collaborative process, the designer works with the Yolngu people to merge modern designs with the traditional thoughts and beliefs of the Arnhem Land region.
The result is beautiful furniture with a story to tell.