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Product – Consumer Goods


Malvaux «Nr. 1»

Thilo Alex Brunner – Design

Malvaux GmbH

Thilo Alex Brunner, Gérald Marolf, Oliver Laubscher

A self-initiated, self-supporting project


The Swiss army knife – a national design icon, an international export hit and the symbol par excellence of Swiss quality and reliability – is a widely admired, almost sacrosanct object. And yet we all know that it has its little ways! Opening the knife with the help of the fingernail notch can cause problems – and there is room for doubt about the knife’s ergonomics as well. Just these considerations were the starting point for the laborious development of the Malvaux «Nr. 1» pocket knife. And the result demonstrates that minute adjustments are all it takes to improve the functionality in a sustainable way. The scale is now curved, while the blade remains straight. To open the knife, you now have a substantial area that you can grasp between thumb and forefinger. And as a result of the asymmetrical kink in the handle, the knife sits comfortably in the hand. The scale is made of CNC-milled aluminium, giving an impression of quality. The screw system that holds it all together means that you can change the blade in case of need.

Comments of the nominators

Anyone who dares take on a cult object like the Swiss army knife is embarking on a path of high risk. Malvaux has succeeded in justifying this apparent sacrilege: what is actually just a small adjustment results in substantial added value in functional terms. The product quality, the processing and the mechanism are above reproach. The visual appearance is appealing and in touch with the times.

Comments by the Jury

Design is rarely concerned to reinvent a product completely. In the overwhelming majority of cases, further development and improvement of an already existing product is the central task of design, and a touchstone for its quality. The Malvaux no. 1 pocket knife meets these requirements in irreproachable and exemplary style. In a convincing and notably pointed way, it combines functionality, product quality and aesthetic considerations. The characteristically kinked form results from the endeavour to make the knife more user-friendly. This confers on the product a unique selling point and a distinctively recognisable identity. Above all in view of its being different and independent, the Malvaux no. 1 is not in competition with the iconic Swiss army knife. But like the latter, it is well thought out, useful, reliable and beautiful and so incorporates the typical properties of Swiss design.