On Sunday 28 November, the first art knife show in Annecy took place in the salons of the Impérial Palace congress centre, bringing together some thirty renowned cutlers from all over France.
Bernard Piekolek, organiser of this show and founder of the cutlery shop "Le Couteau Savoyard" in Annecy, is delighted with the success of the event in view of the high attendance.
We went to meet him to gather some information:
IMPERIAL PALACE: Hello Mr. Piokelec, can you present your professional exhibition?
B. PIOKELEK: This exhibition brings together the best French cutlery makers with, among others, Robert Bayonnet who is twice Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Madame Ferrand, Adrien Vautrin (Artisan, Cutler, Cabinet Maker) who is currently preparing for the MOF competition which he will certainly obtain, Mathieu Herrero (Artisan Cutler), ... It is the best line-up of French cutlery makers with whom I have worked for 30 years for some.
It was important to me to organise this show here at the Imperial because the success was already assured with you!
It is a beautiful event that takes place over one day. I plan to do it again here, at the Imperial Palace Congress Centre, once a year. It is a public show for collectors and by invitation, it is not a professional show.
IMPERIAL PALACE: Where does this knife show usually take place?
B. PIOKELEK: I did it for 10 years in Paris and the hotel where it was held, the Marriott Paris Rive Gauche, could not reopen due to the Covid so I said to myself, after all, the most beautiful city in France is Annecy! I'm there and I live there so it would be ridiculous to go back to Paris.
The location is perfect, the hotel is magnificent, the lounges are totally adapted for this type of event, the site of Annecy and its lake... what could be better?
IMPERIAL PALACE: Where do the exhibitors come from?
B. PIOKELEK: They are scattered all over France. I even have two Italians, one from Bergamo and the other from Genoa. Giuseppe Palla, who belongs to the Confrérie des Couteliers Italiens, has won several cutlery competitions in France and Italy.
You have here the best of French cutlery with also Manu Laplace (Artisan Coutelier d'art in Thiers) who supplies great restaurants with table knives, Fontenille Pataud (Couteau Laguiole in Thiez), Goyon-Chazeau who are professionals of French cutlery and all the rest really represent the craft, people who work with their hands. What they can do with a handle and a blade is incredible! You have noble materials such as Mammoth ivory, petrified wood called Morta (a noble wood that is difficult to work with for strong and reliable handles).
IMPERIAL PALACE: And you, what is your background? A little presentation?
B. PIOKELEK: Well, I've been in the cutlery business since 1989. I had a shop in Chamonix and I moved to Annecy in 2008, on rue Sommeiller, "Le Couteau Savoyard". I created my knife with the help of the MOF, I am not just a shopkeeper.
I have 2 models of closing knives (the Alpin and the Petit Montagnard) and 2 models of table knives too. I supply in particular the Trésoms, the Chardon d'Ecosse, many customers in Megève, many restaurant owners.
B. Piokelek is assisted in the organisation by his friend Constant Laverrière, a retired Swiss surgeon from the Geneva Cantonal Hospital and now a great collector for many years. "It was not the scalpel that led me to the knife. Even so, there is a high concentration of collectors who come from the medical field... quite amazing, isn't it?" He likes to stress that he is not a collector to put knives in display cases but rather to use them at the table. He likes to open them as he mainly owns folding ones, cutting meat, cheese or fish.
A yearly appointment not to be missed!