We sat down for a chat with artist Julien Roche, with whom we struck up a collaboration for this Christmas 2022. 

Opinel as seen by Julien Roche

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Julien. I've been working as a graphic designer and art director for ten years.

I live in Lyon and work mainly in the culture sector.

What is your background and how did you get into illustration?

I studied graphic design in Toulouse, where I lived and worked for several years. I have been drawing since I was a child: over time, I gradually adapted the media I used to create exclusively digital and vector art. In Lyon I mostly deal in brand design (logos and graphics) and original identities (HEAT food-court, H7), particularly for Arty Farty, for which I am Visual Art Director. I recently created several illustrations, in particular for the website of Loulou Grand Magasin, the Casse-croûte Festival and Dorsalys. I love imagining fictional worlds I can amuse myself animating.

What is your first memory of Opinel?

My first memory dates back to my youth, when my grandparents used to head off into the woods with an Opinel blade, to be employed for anything from picking mushrooms to cutting wood. They always had an Opinel knife in their pocket during their excursions.

Opinel vu par Julien Roche

For many, Opinel is synonymous with expertise and legacy. What do you think the Opinel values are?

It is an honest brand. Faithful to its roots, authentic in its choice of materials, timeless and always in style. As a brand, it has kept pace with the times and continued to evolve, never standing still. This kind of approach really resonates with me.

julien roche opinel noël illustration

You just completed an illustration for Opinel. How did this collaboration come about and what does it mean to you? What inspired you?

The collaboration came following the Casse-croûte cooking festival in Chamonix. I was responsible for the visual identity of the event, of which Opinel is a partner. I imagined a "pop-up" house, in the vein of advent calendars and Christmas chocolate boxes. The idea of a "house of knives" developed naturally: inside the house are several rooms, featuring scenes of everyday life involving Opinel blades: eating, cooking, harvesting, sawing wood...

The house is warm and welcoming, with a winter atmosphere and colour palette. Like a page of "Where's Waldo?" or a Wes Anderson movie (whose work I admire), dozens of details are hidden inside the house.

Last question: if you had to describe Opinel in one word, what would it be?

Distinctive. You can always tell an Opinel apart from the rest, it's simply unique!