Victorinox goes paper cutting with Rob Ryan

Victorinox, the company behind the famous Swiss Army Knife, recently teamed up with UK artist Rob Ryan for a campaign to promote the launch of their new pocket-sized model, the Tomo

Victorinox, the company behind the famous Swiss Army Knife, recently teamed up with UK artist Rob Ryan for a campaign to promote the launch of their new pocket-sized model, the Tomo…

It’s the first time that Victorinox has reinterpreted the classic Swiss design and the new Tomo is the work of Kazuma Yamaguchi of Tokyo studio, Abitax. ‘Tomo’ means ‘companion’ or ‘friend’ in Japanese. The studio also conceived the Tomo packaging, which uses recycled pulp to enclose the fold-up knife (see here on the Abitax site).

As part of the Modern Art Cutting campaign, which was created by agency Pd3Rob Ryan was commissioned to create an A1 ‘tree of life’ drawing (detail shown, top) where characters are depicted carving messages and seemingly generating the artwork itself. The work, say Pd3, “depicts how the Swiss army knife is shared and passed down from generation to generation, always ready and waiting in your pocket to help. The backdrop of the piece draws on the beauty of Swiss forests, inspired by Ryan’s trip to Ibach.”

It’s an appropriate link-up as Ryan’s art centres around paper-cutting and his own technique is also explored in a short film created for the campaign, which you can view below. Paper-cutting, says Ryan, allows him to strip his drawings down to their bare essentials.

The new campaign also enables users to download stencils (of varying levels of intricacy) to make their own Ryan-inspired work. Once these have been cut out, the designs can then be layered together to create a single piece.

And if you need some help, Ryan is on hand, digitally. He’s made three ‘masterclass’ films, which can be viewed on the Tomo microsite, victorinoxtomo.victorinox.com, where the stecils can also be downloaded.

A final part of the fun takes Ryan’s bunting-style lettering to Twitter. Using the tag #alphabunting, users can to turn short messages and tweets into pieces of digital artwork, using a bespoke alphabet that Ryan created for Victorinox. Entering a message into the online generator, users receive a jpeg artwork of the message (an ‘alphabunting’ no less) to share or tweet. Here’s what they look like:

More of Rob Ryan’s work is at misterrob.co.uk and his A1 artwork created for Modern Art Cutting will be on display in Victorinox’s London flagship store on New Bond Street (artwork shown in full, below). Pd3’s work can be viewed at pd3.co.uk. The new Tomo is available at £17.99.

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