Knives were one of the first tools used by humankind and have a two-and-a-half million-year-old history. Knives were and still are an essential tool to survival and are probably one of the things every man has used at least once. Many cultures have their unique version of the knife and due to its role as humankind’s first tool certain cultures have even attached spiritual and religious significance to the knife.
I personally use knives every day, but in very non-heroic terms. I butter my bread, cut vegetables and meat and the most exciting thing I can remember experiencing in connection to a knife is probably when I got robbed in South America from a junky with a tiny rusty hand knife…
The Sami people in Lapland on the other hand have a long tradition of skilled knife making and have been using the Sami Knife, or Leuku, since over 300 years. This very versatile knife was developed from the needs of the reindeer herder-lifestyle, including grips that are favorable to gloved or stiff hands and a sharp blade that cuts wood as well as an ax. Besides all that, they are beautifully crafted.
The Brussels based design and crafts devotees from La Fabrika decided honor the Lapland Leuku and invited 22 international designers to offer their inspirational interpretation of the famous Leuku knife. Each of the designers, who contributed to the exhibition, entitled Leuku-Stuomiibi / Sami-Knife, were sent a seven-inch Leuku created by master Sami craftsman Josef Laiti and asked to reinterpret the knife. The innovative concepts were then curated into an exhibition featuring sketches and drawings, as well as prototypes of the knives. The exhibition will be on view until April 2nd.
With this exhibition La Fabrika underlines the importance of preserving handicraft traditions that are rapidly disappearing.
La Fabrika is born out of an absolute love for design, their passion for well-designed contemporary furnishings and their belief that customers should be offered a carefully curated selection of the best of today’s design.
After launching the website end of 2009, La Fabrika recently opened a 230 m² showroom at rue Antoine Dansaertstraat 182 in the lively Dansaert district of central Brussels. An area well-known for its trendy and stylish fashion and design boutiques.
“La Fabrika provides a carefully chosen range of outstandingly conceived and crafted furniture, lighting and accessories. The aim of La Fabrika is to be selective yet distinctive, offering only the best of hand picked classic and contemporary pieces by established designers as those of exciting, up-and-coming design talent.”
Design, like fashion, has inarguably been rubbing the borders of the art world since form has been elevated above (or alongside) the practical application of objects. Design connoisseurs would probably even argue that design, fashion and art are very similar when seen from an historical arts and crafts perspective.
One thing I have come to admire about industrial design and fashion though is that they don’t make a fuzz about their commercial aims. Objects and clothes are inevitably designed to be marketed, sold and used by consumers and one would have a hard time finding a designer saying that he makes fashion “pour ‘l fashion”. In the art world on the other hand the romantic image of the tortured artist that cannot help but to express himself visually, physically or otherwise prevails despite the ongoing trends of the commercialization, commodification and greed that we find today in the art world.
Besides the (often neglected) crafty side of the creative industries there is another thing they have in common: passion.