When fabricating his latest collection, Matt Muldoon skipped brass tacks altogether and dove hands-first into solid aluminum. Muldoon drew from his obsession with World War II aerospace provisions to craft the 60/61 Collection: solid aluminum furniture that fuses the functionality, aestheticism, and immaculate craftsmanship that he sees as being unique to the period, or at least, lost since then. “[World War II] was the last golden age of manufacturing, I think,” says the Vancouver-based designer of Knuckles Industries. “In recent years, quality has really taken a back seat to repeatability and ease of replacement.”
From the name to the design, Muldoon tailored the finished products to his muse, and with the 60/61 Collection, perfection was deeply rooted in aesthetics. “I don’t think that I ever put large amounts of time into functionality, not nearly as much as I put into how my finished pieces are presented and the lines that they carry,” he explains. This isn’t to say that Muldoon disregards the functionality of his pieces, but rather that the benign appraisal of a work’s utility takes second place to first impressions and visual interest.
The 60/61 Collection is comprised of 10 pieces, including a bed frame, bookshelf, and standing wardrobe. The collection is named after the aluminum alloy commonly used in airframes, and the holes punctuating each piece are called lightening or speed holes, which would be punched through the alloy in an effort to lighten the aircraft. “Aircraft from that era was really what spawned my love of speed holes,” says Muldoon. “I always associated seeing them with high-quality products built from a different time.” In Muldoon’s efforts to emulate the era, the aluminum works are joined at the corners with bolts to match. Each piece is adorned with sharp 90-degree angles and stick straight lines that act as nods to the necessary precision of military manufacturing.
Muldoon, a self-proclaimed uncompromising perfectionist, began his foray into designing and building at the age of 14–and yes, his parents do still have the first desk he built displayed proudly in their home. While he loves working with all materials, metal is a favourite because it is “unforgiving,” he says. “You get one chance to make it perfect and if you screw it up, you will see those blemishes for the rest of that piece’s life.” For Muldoon, that pressure only serves to motivate: “I love the game of trying to make something flawless.”