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switched on design

From Habitat magazine - issue 22

A sophisticated answer to recycling plywood offcuts has seen Mat Macmillan produce a beautiful range of modern pieces for the home.

Mat Macmillan

From his Tauranga-based studio, Maker Furniture, this craftsman saw opportunity in the offcuts – some colourfully brushed with paint from Resene – and got to work crafting wonderfully shaped fruit bowls and lamps.

Perhaps most striking is the Slice Lamp, its brightly coloured segments (these ones use Resene Red Hot, Resene Surfie Green and Resene Awol) surrounding the light within, casting playful shadows around the room.

A popular design, it now extends to a range of similarly segmented lamps in varying shapes and sizes, with each lovingly handmade by the designer himself.

Mat has a passion for traditional carpentry, which he was introduced to early on in his career. In the 90s, he started his apprenticeship with a North London carpenter and cabinetmaker whose working methods were considered archaic – but they introduced Mat to the great furniture making methods of the 1930s when “joints were all cut by hand and chisels and irons sharpened on an old India stone,” he says.

When he saw the industry veering away from older techniques and use of natural materials, he left a fulltime job in carpentry to set up his own studio.

With Maker Furniture, he hopes to create a niche business where he can continue to create using those old-school techniques. He’s also keen for designers and artists to get in touch to collaborate.

“I see Maker as a way of getting my work out there, and to generate interest from others,” says Mat. “And hopefully this way I’ll get approached for more design-focused projects.”

Those interested in collaborating with Mat can contact him through The Slice Lamps and other lighting from Maker Furniture is available at

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Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

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