Made By Morgen is a boutique Melbourne-based custom-furniture business run by Nick MacDonald and Mitch Lorkin since 2014. Its aesthetic and design influence is largely drawn from Scandinavia, and its driving philosophy is to source and repurpose recycled timbers. “We want the pieces to embody a story and carry the history of where they’re coming from,” says Lorkin. “We don’t want to unconsciously pull timber off a hardware-store shelf and go, ‘That will do’.”
The team’s most-treasured timber discovery is a cracker.
In his hometown of Mortlake, south-west Victoria, MacDonald’s neighbours owned the longest-running on-property bull sale in Australia. Their farm and annual bull sale attracted a crowd from around the nation, and in the 1950s it had a purpose-built indoor grandstand made to seat 3500 people.
“They came to me and said they wanted to demolish the whole thing and turn it into an equestrian arena for their kids. I gave them a hand, and received some timber in return,” MacDonald says.
All the bench seating was impeccably conserved and made from Australian hardwoods, such as blackbutt and messmate. “After the timber was milled and dressed, everyone was enamoured by the way it presented itself after sitting there for 70 years,” says MacDonald. He crafted a few “thank you” pieces from the old benches to give to friends and family. Then requests from the wider community started rolling in because people wanted them as a way to remember the farm’s history.
Made By Morgen understands the story and history of its materials, and of course, how to tell it. “If you’re using a material like blackbutt and messmate from an old bull-sale grandstand, you’ve got to work with people who share the same admiration for the story,” says Lorkin.
Lorkin and MacDonald put aside five per cent of every sale to support a local cause such as Cancer Council Australia and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; they think about the community when they’re making their furniture and when they’re selling it.