Hobo Knife Set

My last chosen piece of good design is this Hobo Knife set I bought in Japan a few years ago. Arguably not the most P.C. name, this set is similar in design to the design classic, the Swiss Army knife, but offers more functionality and comfort for its intended purpose.

hobo knife set folded up with case image
Hobo Knife Set fodled up with case

The set is made from stainless steel, which makes it both durable and easy to clean- an important design feature as it will be used predominantly for eating with or preparing food.

It folds up very neatly into a pouch with straps so you can attach it to your belt or bag easily; is very light and has a chain for you to attach it to a keyring as well.

When folded, if you turn the top of the fork and spoon out from the body, it releases the locking mechanism in the centre. This then splits the set in half, becoming two separate items- or pieces of cutlery.

The placement of the knife and bottle opener when shut (shown above) may look on the surface as an incidental part of the design, but in fact it makes it much more ergonomic when holding it- giving a much more comfortable and tighter grip.

Small design decisions like this showcase why I think this is an excellent piece of design.

all of the hobo knife’s attachments image
All of the Hobo Knife’s attachments

The set also has a corkscrew, two types of bottle opener, and a sharp point for piercing cans or other objects. Whilst is has less features than a standard Swiss Army knife, this set offers much more comfort and simplicity in its design.

I used this set every day whilst in Japan for a year and was the only cutlery I needed for my entire time there. Whilst its primary purpose is not to be used as daily silverware, its excellent design allowed me to do so without any issues whatsoever.

In summary, all of my chosen examples above display interesting approaches to solving various problems, whether it be wanting to enliven the design of dull furniture, minimise your cutlery needs, or fold a frisbee into your pocket!

They all offer a unique solution to problems many may not have realised existed, which I personally think is the key to great design.

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