The Art Bench


  • Newline Design
  • Jon Mikulic
  • Manapan furniture
  • DC Group Pty Ltd


Jon Mikulic’s art bench beautifully combines the traditions of the Milingimbi community with contemporary design.

The bench has been designed for Manapan furniture –
an Indigenous Not for Profit Initiative.

Key Features


Split into two pieces, the timber forms the ‘thread’ that joins the five traditional spears, produced by the local elders, to the bench’s four square shaped legs. The size of the four legs, slender in form, responds to the trunks of the trees from which they came. Finely executed scarf joints lock the two lengths together to form the wooden bench.

Each Art Bench is unique. The spears are handmade and carry the colours of traditional hunting – no art bench is the same.


The combination of indigenous craft with the refined traditional furniture making skills makes this a unique expression in design.


The Manapan story is one of a remarkable commitment to teach young indigenous men and women a new skill and to enable them to sustain an initiative to employ and train people in the Northern Territory into the future.
The design by local Victorian designers – working pro-bono is the key to this initiative.
Design has turned a fledgling company making coffins, bedheads and desks for local schools to now making high quality designer furniture.
Manapan has now seen success throughout Australia.
Their Designers – all have firm roots in Victoria.


Design with an emphasis on traditional Indigenous artistry and fine furniture making skills is a monumental process.
This combination of traditional craft and skilled workmanship has been highlighted in the design of the Art Bench.

The itself bench seams to float , cantilevering from its base.
But in fact held by the traditional spears that penetrate solid reclaimed natural edge timber slabs.
(surprisingly the bench can comfortably seat five people)


Manapan strives to empower the local people by providing a pathway to full time employment and recognizing and celebrating their traditional talents and contemporary skills. Building relationships to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people through working together. It is the dream of all involved to see the children and grandchildren working within the community and gaining the skills and qualifications that will sustain their community for future generations.

A dream I am proud to be a part of – Jon Mikulic

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