Meet Matthew: Originally from South Wales (we love Matt's accent!), Matthew Browne came to the U.S. to oversee the implementation of new fabrication practices for another company. Fortunately for us he chose to make his home in the states and eventually found his way to McKinnon and Harris in 2011. Matthew joined McKinnon and Harris as a highly skilled welder and craftsman. However, his comprehensive understanding of process and materials along with with a passion for architectural design seamlessly cast him into the role of Design Engineer.
How has working out on the shop floor enhanced your design ability? Developing my skills on the shop floor over many years has given me the ability to truly understand the difficulties associated with metal fabrication and I feel this is crucial in the design process. Structural integrity is a great example of this. As an engineer, I know the limitations of joining aluminum together and the impact static and dynamic loads place on it. As a fabricator, I know the limitations of the welding process and its effects on the strength of the surrounding materials. As a result I can confidently design shapes and joints that are both pleasing to look at and last a lifetime.
What is your favorite piece of McKinnon and Harris furniture and why? May I pick two? I would have to say the new Cowling Club Chair with Arms for aesthetics. I love its elegant and complex shape and the fact that this piece is smaller in scale yet extraordinarily strong. A lot of thought went into this design! Now in terms of engineering, I would go with the Beaufort Sun Chaise. It’s a perfect example of how superbly functional, high-performance elements may be carefully hidden within beautiful design.
How do you express yourself creatively outside of the workshop? I am an extremely competitive cyclist! I race in several big series on the east coast as a pro trail rider. My teammates and I are sponsored by The Richmond Bicycle Company, whose headquarters are actually a block away from McKinnon and Harris. I also enjoy coaching kids on mountain bike handling skills and techniques.
What book is on your nightstand? Well, my wife and I are expecting our first child in just a few weeks, so all of the reading I have been doing of late is related to babies! We are having a girl and have chosen the name Carys (pronounced Ka-ris). It’s a Welsh name derived from the word Caru which means love. We couldn’t be more excited!