A Visit to the Studio of Metrofiets Boxmaker Matt Raphael
Metrofiets customers all come to us with one goal in mind: haul big stuff. But just what that “stuff” is (a coffee bar, a mobile bike shop, beer taps, ice cream parlor, kids, groceries) and how the bike is outfitted to carry it varies immensely.
That’s why we are so proud of our partnership with Ruphus, where hauling concepts come to life featuring elegant lines, innovative design and a creative use of the space available on and around a Metrofiets bike. Principal mastermind Matt Raphael has an eye for all-in-one compact designs and enthusiastically devises solutions for our customers’ hauling dreams.
First there was the platform of the bike (Metrofiets Phase One), then there was a box (Metrofiets Phase Two), but these days through Matt’s clever compositions a box can now house a retractable bench for transporting kids, or a lid that pulls off the front of the bike and becomes a table (for picnics!).
And this is the part of the process that really gets Matt fired up. Matt is an avid cyclist who studied bike design (and ultimately collaborated on an award-winning commuter bike). He welcomes the challenge of creating spaces that serve multiple purposes and allow for bold uses that are compact enough to transport by bike.
Oh, and they have to look stunning, too. Matt prefers to keep his designs clean and simple so the elegance of the bike and box are what people first notice, not hinges, handles or fasteners. Matt accepts the inevitability of mechanical and metal bits where necessary, but overlays his designs with the warmth of rich wood – a pairing that really sets our bikes apart.
Matt’s gorgeous, light-filled workshop in SE Portland is something of a dream space. The architect-turned-designer says it’s quite possible he shifted his specialty to product design simply to justify having a a workshop filled with all the best tools at-the-ready. By using a CNC machine to create all of the Metrofiets designs, each unique model of bike “box” can be easily replicated, or tweaked, for other purposes and future customers.
“Really,” Matt says, “the sky’s the limit.”
So, do you have an outlandish idea for how you’d like to use a Metrofiets? Bring it on – we’ve got Matt Raphael waiting in the wings, eager to design the next creative use for a Metrofiets. Let’s make your dream bike a reality.
Click the photographs for an expanded view