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Mat Macmillan lights it up

28 Oct 2015

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

From his Tauranga-based studio, Maker Furniture, the craftsman saw opportunity in the offcuts and got to work crafting wonderfully shaped fruit bowls and lamps. He finishes some with Resene paint, like these ones in Resene Red Hot, Resene Surfie Green (blue), and Resene Awol (green).

Perhaps most striking is the Slice Lamp, its brightly coloured segments 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 was introduced 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 are available at

Published: 28 Oct 2015