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About Forge De Laguiole

“Some people set off to the other ends of the earth with their favourite book, or their
favourite song firmly rooted in their heads. Some travel in the shade of their
beloved hat, or wearing their protective ring. And then there are others who always
carry their Laguiole with them, in their trouser pocket, a shirt pocket, or hanging
from their belt in a leather or canvas pouch. Because the famous knife, born on the
Aubrac plateau in the early 19th century, has come down through the centuries and
the fashions to become more than just a knife: it’s a cult object, a sort of talisman, a
faithful companion that never leaves you.

It was originally an essential tool for shepherds and cowmen (the awl was used to
save ewes by making a hole in their stomachs when they had eaten too much of the
fresh grass on the plateau), and has gradually been slimmed down, modified,
developed and modernised over the years. Sculpted by the fierce winds that cross
the deserted plateau, it has taken on a sensual, practical curved shape.

The handle was initially carved out of ox bone, but has since been made from a
wide variety of noble materials: juniper and olive wood, acrylic glass, horn, metal,
aluminium, carbon and even mammoth and elephant ivory. Its steel, carbon or
stainless steel blade, forged and tempered in the knife-works designed by Philippe
Starck, is said to be unbreakable. Its plates and spring (a brass or stainless steel strip
down the middle of the top of the handle) may be decorated with extremely fine,
original engraving. And what can we say about the providential bee that was
introduced over a century ago, sitting between blade and spring? It’s still there, a
legendary trademark that has consolidated the knife’s reputation, giving it an
imperial, natural, untamed touch.

We now say “a Laguiole” rather than “a knife”. It’s much more than a knife. It’s the
offspring of a wild, dense, secret, majestic landscape highly suitable for meditation
and creation. It’s the result of decades of invention, trials and financial battles. Its
proud blade rises majestically over the Forge and seems to want to cut through the
clouds, since there are no enemy ships on the horizon. It’s a product, an object
shaped meticulously from start to finish by the admirable expertise of master
cutlers, whose skills are equal to those of goldsmiths and watchmakers when it
comes to sculpting, polishing, hardening, etching, stamping and riveting … all these
words and skills, all these odours endlessly reproduced to give birth to the knife”*.
This document is an incursion into the Forge, “in which the philosophy is to put
people and the product first in the heart of a chameleon-like, austere, wild, basaltic,
multi-coloured country in which men don’t talk much unless there’s something
important to say or do”.

“You can’t miss it as you go along the Aubrac road out of Laguiole: it attracts the
visitor’s eye. The factory designed by Philippe Starck is solid and modern, slim and
sharp. A gigantic reference to the link between tradition and modernity, its metallic
setting is home to the expertise of the blacksmiths and cutlers of La Forge”*.
The Laguiole Forge factory opened in 1987. It was the culmination of a project
dreamed up by a group of enthusiasts, aimed at relaunching the production of the
Laguiole knife in Laguiole. The task of designing the factory was given to Philippe
Starck and is a perfect illustration of the company’s philosophy, combining tradition
and design. The glass and aluminium architecture, from which emerges a blade 18
metres high, symbolises the company’s activity and dynamism. Every stage in the
manufacture of the knife is now carried out once again in the place where it
originated: the knife is reborn, the Laguiole has come back to Laguiole.

The “ENTREPRISE DU PATRIMOINE VIVANT” (Living Heritage Company) label
awarded by the Minister responsible for companies and external trade and the
“JANUS DE L’INDUSTRIE”, awarded by the French Design Institute and sponsored
by the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry for External Trade, make it the leading
enterprise in Laguiole.

At the Laguiole Forge, we have a real determination to pass on and defend our
heritage.

We take pleasure in finding the inspiration for this knife-forging expertise in the
authenticity of the Aubrac plateaux. From the outset, the Laguiole Forge has
worked to develop its manufacturing skills with respect for traditional know-how.
Once a knife used locally, it has now become a cult object, a design benchmark and
a synonym of the art of living.

As an object representing continuity and solidarity with the past or as a statement of
contemporary creativity, Laguiole cutlery continues to inspire designers. Philippe
Starck, Yan Pennor’s, Eric Raffy, Sonia Rykiel, Hermès, Courrèges, Jean-Michel Wilmotte,
Thomas Bastide, Olivier Gagnère, C+B Lefebvre, Christian Ghion, Kristian
Gavoille… all have lent their particular talents to the interpretation of the Laguiole.

Our Knife Works in Laguiole is responsible for every stage in the manufacture of its
knives. The blades are forged at 1000°C.

Laguiole Forge knives are made at the Laguiole Forge and have the collective
“Laguiole origine garantie” trademark engraved on the blade; this attests to the
knife’s controlled quality and production origin.

Laguiole Forge finds the inspiration for its expertise in the authenticity of the
Aubrac plateaux, forging the lines of its knives in the traditions of authenticity,
refinement and excellence.

Authenticity: this takes us on a journey through the furrows of the land; it is an
illustration of the know-how that has been built up here, and leads to a respect
for tradition through the expertise of each of our cutlers

Refinement: the curve of the knife is understated, radiating a purity of line; the
design appears implicitly with the signature of many designers such as Starck

Excellence: the outcome of the object becomes intangible; it reflects the sense of the
approach of the person who has understood it, the values that can be shared
with, among others, Virgilio Munoz Caballero, “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”