フランス人ライフスタイルデザイナー パトリス・ジュリアン オフィシャル・ホームページ Patrice Julien Official Site

“Laguiole”ナイフ:ブランディングとイマジネーション Laguiole knives : Branding and Imagination

chateau_laguiole_3008gc

Laguiole is a small village in the southern French department of Aveyron. In 2011, Laguiole (pronounced «laiole» had only 1243 inhabitants…In 2014 it may be still around the same number today. Laguiole having no particular architectural or cultural interest, until 1981, it have been only known by connoisseurs for it’s original cheese called « Tomme de Laguiole » and for being a representative place for the « Aubrac » a breed of beef very popular in the field of « Haute cuisine ». Nearby, there was also a ski resort attracting families but at first sight nothing very « glamourous »…just one little town of the French province…

d6f67430-0225-11e2-8c7d-03d597da66a1-493x328

But, in the history of the city, was a man called Pierre-Jean Calmels, a knife artisan. In 1829, when he created his first Laguiole knife, he did not imagine that he was planting the seeds for a worldwide legend.The ancestor of the laguiole is most likely the Arabo-Hispanic clasp knife of Andalusian Spain, the navaja. Migrations of men, particularly shepherds and cattle herders, between Catalan Spain and southern France in summer and winter introduced the navaja to Aveyron.The Arabo-Hispanic design of the navaja was merged with that of local folding knives represented by older patterns such as the Capuchadou; the result became the Laguiole.

autrefois_titre[2]-1

HistCt03

In that time, pocket knives were not trendy accessories but vital companions, always in the pocket, ready for any kind of farm work as well as to cut bread, meat, sausages, cheese,…Throughout its existence the Laguiole knife has had to adapt to its time and new demands. The first piece that was added to the traditional blade was the “poinçon (4), the piercer that was used to make holes in the horse harnesses or to pierce the paunch of sheep suffering from colic, to remove stones from horse’s shoes, or to cut horses hair. The corkscrew (4) became popular after 1880 with the emigration of poor farmers from Aveyron who would leave home to try and make a better living in Paris (first selling coal and wood, then opening bars and restaurants, still to be found in Paris today).The cross on the handle (3) was used when praying, with it’s blade planted in a table, the knife could be transformed in a mini altar (not all modern knives still have the cross on the handle)

couteau-outil

Around 1880, because of the development of the railways increasing the communication with other regions of France, the knives makers of Laguiole become very popular for the quality of their work. They get lots of medals for their products in the main French knives competitions. It is around 1909 that for the first time, the image of a bee or a fly is used to decorate the part of the knife containing the spring that keeps the Laguiole open safely. It is interesting to know that the Laguiole knife used to have a so-called “mouche”, which translates as “fly” but is also known as « the bee ». The bee was the small piece of triangular or oval-shaped metal, sometimes with a ring, which you needed to push up to allow the blade to close. The bee no longer has a functional role. But it is still there as a decoration, as a testament to the technical feature of its origins. Whether it represents a fly or bee remains a mystery.

ressort

abeillesciseleesmain_1

The first world war killed a lot of artisans of Laguiole, so, almost all the knives ateliers had to close. In 1950 when Léon Glaize, creator of the shape of the modern Laguiole knife closed his factory, only two other manufactures remained. From the 1960’s Laguiole’s customers – largely agricultural workers are in decline, the production of handmade knives is minimal and, by the beginning of the 1980’s, knife manufacture in Laguiole has almost ceased to exist. In 1985, a group of Laguiole enthusiasts from the Aubrac plateau create the conditions for the return of Laguiole knife manufacture to its birthplace.

batiment-forge-de-laguiole-stark-1

The renaissance of the Forge de Laguiole becomes a reality in 1987 when the Mayer of Laguiole and the the hospitality empire of Paris stylemakers, the Costes brothers decided to re-launch an inactive factory, the “Forges de Laguiole”. The design of the manufacturing site was entrusted to French designer Philippe Starck, and it is a perfect reflection of the company philosophy: to successfully combine tradition and innovation. Starck’s architectural vision uses glass and aluminum, and features a 18m high gleaming blade soaring into the sky above Laguiole, a symbol of the activity and dynamism of the company. That is the beginning of the rebirth of the Laguiole Knife and the beginning of a worldwide legend.

LAGUIOLUS4_1