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DESIGN
Florentine Kitchen Knives
Handmade knives from Southwestern Tel Aviv
by James Thorne
on 25 July 2012
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A brilliant series of utility knives from Israeli designer Tomer Botner brings together high-end craftsmanship with social advocacy. The blades have been created with the help of 17 local suppliers, craftsmen and professionals from Tel Aviv's Florentine neighborhood, made from materials sourced from the area. The knives comprise Botner's final project for the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design, imagined as a way to showcase Florentine's place as a thriving hub of Israeli culture.

"I hope all the small businesses in my community will want to work with designers and open their minds to a new future for Florentine—a future of quality and community," says Botner. "I believe that design is the most important capitalist tool. It can be used for good or evil. This is my way of doing good: making crafts and skills last, making it possible for small business to compete with big business, and branding my community as a place of high quality."

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For the design, a single forged handle and blade serve as the cornerstone of the knives. The handle features a single steel plate that joins the hilt and forms an extruded cross. Botner then stacks weighted disks along the length of the handle, using a range of weights from 3-9 grams to achieve a perfect balance for each blade.

Once the wedge is set in the hilt, the handle is then sealed and the knife given an individual number. Form follows function as the colored rings stripe the knife in a playful spectrum. The shape is a bit of a departure from the traditional Western chef's knife, using a highly curved spine and blade for rocking-style chopping.

Currently producing 200mm and 120mm lengths, Botner is in the process of sourcing funding to produce the knives for consumers. Take a closer look at the production process on Botner's blog.

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