Since 1890, Opinel has been manufacturing kitchen, table and outdoor knives, characterized by their authenticity and neo-retro style. Each year, Opinel sells more than 4 million blades worldwide, and the brand’s famous pocketknife alone amounts to half of the sales.
5 questions to the designer
What is the story behind Opinel?
In 1890, 18-year-old Joseph Opinel is working at the family forge. Against his father’s will, he crafts a small pocketknife destined to be used by farmers and villagers in his region. It quickly becomes a huge success, used by everyone and passed on from generation to generation. The power of an Opinel knife lies within its simplicity, solidity and functionality. It has become a familiar object, at once unique and timeless.
Where does this peculiar shape come from?
An Opinel knife is easily recognizable by its ergonomic handle, a perfect fit for the hand that holds it. It has a Yatagan-shaped blade with a convex profile that allows for sharpness and solidity. In the remarkable 3-volume book Phaidon Design Classics, the Opinel pocket knife has been selected as one of the 999 most accomplished designs of all times by a jury of international designers.
3 words to define the brand’s universe?
Simple, robust and functional.
Where and how do you manufacture your products?
All our knives and pocket tools are made in our factory in Chambéry, in the Savoie region, at the heart of the French Alps. Each year, we produce 4.5 million knives thanks to our 100 employees and unique machinery that has been developed specifically for Opinel. 95% of our wooden handles come from French sustainable forests.
“Made in France”: why that choice?
For the Opinel family, it has always been a strong choice to work locally, with traditional know-how and environmentally responsible manufacturing processes. And the extension of the factory in 2016 affirmed more than ever the brand’s strong roots in its birth region, Savoie.