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Editions

Docklands’ master craftsman

31 May 2016

Docklands’ master craftsman Image

By Ellen Hill

For Freddy Mata Mendoza, Docklands has become an inspiration, not just a place to live.  

Originally from Venezuela, Freddy moved to Melbourne to follow his dream of becoming a furniture designer, making the difficult decision to leave behind family and friends in search of a brighter future.

“When I came to Australia, I was thinking I just wanted to get away from all the violence and instability in Venezuela for a short time and then return to find work,” he said. “However after the past 2 years in Australia, I feel at home now and I don’t want to leave. I think my future has just begun.”

Freddy chose to live in Docklands for its beauty and the similarities it shares with his home in Maracaibo, the second largest city in Venezuela.

“It reminds me a lot of my home town because of the high rise buildings, but I think Docklands is much more beautiful.”

The 35-year-old has settled in happily to the Docklands lifestyle and enjoys riding his bike as much as possible.

“The area is so alive and beautiful during the day, but quiet and peaceful at night, not rushed or noisy,” he said.

“Everything is so close by, I can just walk downstairs and all I need is at my doorstep. It’s perfect.”

“On weekends I can go out, explore new places and ride my bike, which I think is one of the unique things about Docklands, everything is so easy to get to.”

A trained architect in his home country, Freddy moved to Melbourne because he found a course that would let him pursue his career in furniture design.

“I wasn’t happy being at construction sites all day and architecture projects take much longer to complete,” he said.

“I wanted to work with my hands, not behind a desk or at a computer all day, but there weren’t any courses for me in South America.”

Freddy’s determination paid off, and at the end of April, he was awarded the Outstanding Certificate Student category at Holmesglen TAFE’s 19th annual awards dinner.

He was recognised for his hard work during 2015 while studying the Certificate IV in Furniture Design and Technology and was awarded a $2000 cash prize.

There is no doubt that Freddy is a dedicated student with a lot of enthusiasm for his craft. He has had two of his pieces shortlisted and exhibited at the Australian Furniture Association Contemporary Emerging Design Awards.

Alongside his studies, Freddy works part time in a furniture-making company. He also leases space to work on furniture commissions, one-off pieces and prototypes.

One of his pieces has been inspired by a couple of iconic Docklands landmarks, namely the Library at the Dock and the Jim Stynes Bridge, which Freddy incorporated in a beautiful reading bench.

And, just when you thought this star student couldn’t do any more, Freddy and a fellow student are in the process of starting up their own furniture business called TWO AM (Two Americans in Melbourne).

Freddy happily calls Docklands his adopted home and luckily for his fellow residents, he plans to stay here for a while longer yet.

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