Vancouver Notables: Matt Muldoon of Knuckles Industries

Matt Mul­doon is the owner of Knuck­les Indus­tries: a rapidly ascend­ing design com­pany that just released (to much pub­lic­ity) their new 60/61 fur­ni­ture series.

Based on vin­tage Amer­i­cana and old-school air­planes – the pieces were built with 6061 air­craft grade alu­minum – the col­lec­tion mar­ries crafts­man­ship and not-quite-functionalism. Does a shoe rack really require speed holes? Of course not, but then, it doesn’t not need them.

Things are going well so far at Knuck­les Indus­tries: the 60/61 series was recently fea­tured at Vancouver’s IDS West show, and has been lauded in pub­li­ca­tions from The Globe and Mail to Mon­te­cristo Magazine.

But back to Matt – what kind of per­son is it that comes up with this stuff?

A Total Hick

Matt was born in Nan­ton, Alberta, and describes him­self as a hill­billy. He grew up going to scrap yards and buy­ing mate­ri­als on the Bar­gain Finder, and at four­teen, he built his first piece: a go-kart repur­posed from a smashed-up motorcycle.

As an adult, Matt divides his time between Alberta and B.C., and runs his busi­ness a bit like a farmer com­ing to mar­ket. He works mostly out of his shop in Cal­gary, but wheels and deals in Van­cou­ver. While on the west coast, he lives in an envi­able loft space on Main and 2nd, but still misses Alberta’s Wild West vibes.

“The part that was hard for me in Van­cou­ver was it sort of sep­a­rated me from being a hill­billy,” he says.

“It’s a very dif­fer­ent scene in Van­cou­ver. Even if I could build a go-kart out of a motor­cy­cle in Van, someone’s going to arrest me if I drive it down 2nd the way that I drive it at home.”

A Ser­ial Killer

Not really, of course. But Matt admits that he looks like one – a lit­tle bit – when he’s stay­ing up all night in his shop, alter­nately lis­ten­ing to clas­si­cal music and Nine Inch Nails.

“I just fall back to Trent Reznor at eleven or twelve o’clock at night,” he says.

And then there’s his love of machin­ing and clean lines.

“I pre­fer that sur­gi­cal look.”

An Awe­some Boyfriend

Recently, Matt’s girl­friend needed a new coun­ter­top. So Matt built her one, out of some 90-year-old barn wood that was pre­sum­ably lying around her apartment.

“I think there was very lit­tle plan­ning that went into it,” he says.

Sounds like a fun date!


A Real Straight Shooter

More than any­thing else, Matt deals in authen­tic­ity. He describes him­self as a half-designer, half-fabricator, and is capa­ble of build­ing any piece that he comes up with. He takes pride in his work; loves qual­ity, well-built mate­ri­als; and believes in com­plet­ing a project in its entirety.

“I have an obses­sion with the 1930s and the 1940s, and every­thing that was made then. Sort of that Amer­i­cana man­u­fac­tur­ing days, when peo­ple went to work and made what they did and they were proud of it, and it turned out really well,” he says.

“I have this thing with the work pride of days gone by.”