Japanese katana swords and chef’s knives are renowned throughout the world for their elegance and extreme quality; the steel, particularly the layered Damascus steel, is really incredible. I found it slightly daunting therefore at first to be working with one of the top knife makers in Japan, and looking to design something new but relevant for them. The result of our collaboration has produced what I feel to be an exceptionally fine example of Japanese and European collaboration.
At the outset of the design process we were very interested in exploring the subtle differences between the way we use our kitchen tools in Europe versus in Japan. Over the years I’ve noticed that Western chefs tend to push the knife away when chopping, whereas sushi chefs tend to pull their knives towards their bodies when cutting fine slivers. I have also noted, when travelling to wood workshops around the world, that they often feature a treasured, and indeed very accurate, Japanese pull-saw. Western saws tend to cut on the push stroke, which means that they have to have thicker blades, which wastes wood. We were interested in incorporating this idea into our knives with Shizu Hamano, which is why our handles are slightly wider at the back than an average Western knife.
We have also collaborated on the design of a knife block for Shizu Hamano which Nissin is producing from their furniture factory off-cuts. The result is a unique design that showcases the beauty of the Damascus steel blades, can be easily cleaned and uses high quality woods that would have been otherwise wasted.
Shizu Hamono manufactures and retails kitchenware, fishing tools, work tools for bicycles and more. In addition to traditional cutlery, the company has taken on the challenge to launch into new areas such as bicycle parts production using its own technical strength.
The craftsmen of Seki are able to create unique blades of exceptional quality in accordance with Shizu Hamono’s high standards. Numerous products that incorporate contemporary trends with traditional craftsmanship is a notable strength of Shizu Hamono, as well as taking great pride and confidence in the quality of their products.
Japanese knives are prized by top chefs across the world and this collection is produced in the world-renowned Seki Region of Gifu. The blades are constructed from premium Damascus steel, folded 30 times during forging, which is high in both strength and corrosion resistance. Whilst the handles are carved from hardwood and feature a faceted ergonomic angled profile, inspired by the folded paper forms of origami.