Nicholas Murray Architects visits mafi Austria


Nicholas Murray visits mafi Austria

We took our close friend and client Nicholas Murray for a visit to the mafi factory in Austria to get a better feel for mafi, the history and philosophy behind the company and of course the making of the product itself, all natural hand made wooden floorboards.

“Leaving an Australia winter to visit the northern hemisphere summer is something I crave every year. The added enticement of a visit to Mafi Austria added another layer of excitement for me as I have incorporated their timbers into my designs for many years. I was expecting a very large company with high levels of technology and automation. What I realised when I got there, down a dirt road in the Austrian country side was that this was a company that had started out of a farmhouse (which is still the head office) and evolved into a large family run business with layers of operational sophistication more commonly found in much larger companies. I met two generations of the family including the managing director Fritz. They were all very hospitable and we started with a 3 hour guided tour of the manufacturing facility and finished with a meal of fresh fish caught and cooked beside a local lake.

The Mafi manufacturing facility was very impressive. Whilst it had plenty of sophisticated machinery the whole process from kiln drying the timber logs to manufacturing the flooring was approached more as a craft than a commercial production. The attention to detail and quality control was impressive and the workers all had incentive systems to encourage them to keep striving to improve the end product. Workers would rotate through the various production stages so that they knew everything about the processes and felt responsibility for every piece of flooring the company produced.

Having been to Mafi and lived and breathed the sawdust for a few days I now understand the concept and craft behind this unique material. I look forward to returning to Salzberg and when I do I’m definitely going to see Fritz and his team again.” Nicholas Murray, Nicholas Murray Architects.