Melbourne maker, Matt Ropiha, has just launched Porktown MFG with an exquisite collection of beautiful and affordable timber and steel custom furniture. We spoke with Matt to learn more about his path, influences and what’s behind the name of his new brand.
UPDATE 2019: Matt has subsequently left Australia to return to his NZ homeland and as a result, his Handkrafted profile and beautiful designs are no longer available here and links from this story have been removed. We wish him all the best on his next adventures.
After working for many years in commercial trades and construction, Matt Ropiha decided to pursue his creative ambitions and start his own bespoke furniture business. Based out of his workshop in Preston in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs, Matt has launched Porktown MFG with a beautiful collection of steel and timber furniture designs that are fully customisable and handmade-to-order.
With a name like Porktown MFG, we knew we needed to speak first-hand to Matt and learn more about his path and purpose – and we’re so pleased to share his story with you…
Art Deco ‘1931’ table, starting from $1,750
What path led you to where you are now?
I started building furniture when my wife & I bought our first home around 5 years ago and wanted nice furniture but didn’t want to pay premium prices. With my background working in trades, I knew I could build pieces of equal quality myself, so I did and this led to friends, and then friends of friends wanting affordable custom pieces too. 18 months ago, just before the birth of my son, I decided to make the overdue change and start my own business.
Black Metal Dining Table, starting from $1,300
Can you tell us a little more about your business name?
I run the business from my home workshop, located in Melbourne’s most historically bacony suburb (location of first bacon factory in Victoria), Preston, aka Porktown, as it was known in the middle of the 19th century. It’s also a tip of the hat to my almost thirty years of skateboarding and skateboarding’s Dogtown era.
The Heavy Metal Bench, starting at $1,200
How would you describe your aesthetic? Who or what influences your style?
I am influenced mainly by mid century design, focusing on solid, simple, clean lines, combining reclaimed timbers & mild steel to compliment each other.
What’s your furniture philosophy?
I’m trying to build affordable, quality pieces. Sustainable timber and the use of natural timber finishes are important to me, as is customer input to ensure they are 100% satisfied with their purchase.
The Butler Side Table, starting from $280
The Truant Desk, starting at $1,100
What part of the creative process do you most enjoy?
I think the most enjoyable part of the creative process for me is progression in my work, trying to learn new things and refine and improve what I’m already doing.
Matt and his son Otis in the workshop (image by Robert Wiltshire)
Product photography by Annette O’Brien
Handkrafted is a community marketplace connecting people with passionate makers to commission custom goods. We have brought together hundreds of Australian independent, bespoke craftspeople and artisans who specialise in producing high quality, sustainably made pieces.
Our makers can help you realise your own idea or collaborate with you on a new design. Many also feature a range of original designs that can be made to order or customised to suit your specific needs. Whichever option you choose, we’re here to help make it happen. Support local makers and kick-start your own project today.
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