Oku’s folded shape allows the handle to be placed on a surface while the blade sits perpendicular away from the surface. Alternatively, users can rest the knife’s blade along the edge of a plate or cutting board.
“The knife can be hooked onto the rim of a plate, creating intimacy between the two objects whilst improving cleanliness and maintaining stability,” said Reilly.
Taking its name from the Japanese word for “to place” or “to put”, Reilly aimed to create a reinterpretation of the western table knife that interacts with tableware in different ways while maintaining a recognisable knife form.
“Influenced by my western upbringing and experiences living in Japan, I set about redesigning the western table knife to improve its performance and keep its blade off the table,” said the designer.
“Functional yet unconventional, Oku introduces a refined aesthetic that breathes new life into the dining space.”
To demonstrate the functionality of the knife, it is packaged on the edge of a Japanese ginkgo wood cutting board.
Reilly created the knife in collaboration with local craftsmen in Tsubane, Japan, which is a city renowned for its metalworking history.
According to the designer, Oku is made from stainless steel that was crafted using generations-old manufacturing techniques, and the inner edge of the handle is curved to be comfortable to hold.
The project has been shortlisted in the homeware design category of Dezeen Awards 2022, alongside a textile range with colourful patterns representing climate-change data and a rug collection that weaves together wood and wool.
The photography is by Kakeru Ooka.
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