Urban EDC Spotlight is an original, exclusive content series highlighting those who are making an impact through notable creative work in their field.
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This conversation is between Filip De Coene (FC), Founder of ENSIZEN and Phil (PY), staff writer for Urban EDC Supply.
PY: Hello Filip, it’s great to have you with us. From the moment we first laid eyes on the ENSIZEN Hybrid Pro, we knew it was something special because it’s quite unlike anything else on the market. So, can you briefly tell us your knife story?
FC: Thanks Phil! I cannot remember exactly when my interest in knives began, it seems like it has always been part of my life. At a very young age, I had the chance to own and cherish some pocket knives. And for many years I have been collecting tactical knives and magazines.
It was only in 2000 that I had the idea to modify an existing knife, but eventually, after some trial and effort, I suddenly started to design knives myself. However, it was not until 2006 that I presented my work for the first time at a local knife fair, mainly liner lock knives or small fixed blades.
PY: That’s cool! How do you think your craft has progressed, or changed, since the beginning?
FC: Since then, I have concentrated mainly on developing my own style. It’s important to take distance and differentiate yourself from other designers and completely follow your own experiences and vision.
The important designs, Hybrid - Minimum - Higo, are already available in various sizes and finishes. I appreciate knife-locking mechanism but I highly prefer simple constructions with a timeless appearance that can last almost forever and certainly gives me more trust in safety and durability.
In the future, I would like to develop a number of safety knives, out-of-the-box designs for city people, or certain sports and specific professions.
PY: It's amazing to hear it directly from you because it's almost like you're creating a completely new design language.
FC: Yes, definitely. And the emphasis here is also simplicity. The ENSIZEN brand name is a combination ENSIS + ZEN. "ENSIS" is the Latin term for "blade" and the term “ZEN“ is inspired by Japanese traditional design and Zen philosophy. Simply put, ENSIZEN stands for sharp designs with a touch of ZEN.
PY: It's evident from your work that you're merging cutting-edge designs with stark minimalism. Which leads me to ask, can you tell us more about your creative process and how do you come up with a new design?
FC: Of course! A new design is always created on paper. When I'm satisfied with the design, I start making prototypes in wood, metal, or G10. These prototypes give me an idea about the proper size and ergonomics. Finally, I make jigs and steel patterns to start production in small quantities.
Also, interaction with customers really help me to develop variations but many of my knives are field-tested during hiking or other outdoor activities. Through this process, I get a good idea about the capabilities of the knife, and if needed I'll make some small adjustments to perfect it.
PY: It's impressive how much time and effort you put into every little detail. This is certainly something your customers appreciate. Now, I'm sure everyone is curious to see what your everyday carry looks like! What do you carry on a daily basis, and why?
FC: When I carry a knife, it’s certainly a Hybrid friction folder. I generally prefer a medium sized blade with enough EDC potential, that fits my hand perfectly. I've carried many different Hybrids (I've already made 6 different variations). The extension makes it very easy to open one-handed or quickly draw out of the pocket, while the ambidextrous wide blade gives a lot of protection during usage and completely eliminates the need for a lock.
PY: Very cool, I can see how each and every ENSIZEN design is an extension of your field-testing and intimate knowledge of usage patterns. With that in mind, can you tell us a little bit more about the new ENSIZEN Minimum XS? We're really excited to show it off to our audience.
FC: The Minimum XS is actually an EDC version of the Minimum 75. The size and pure functional blade shape make it ideal for pocket carry, as many customers prefer smaller blades. Also, I made a Hybrid 40 with a smaller blade but the Minimum with its versatile sheepsfoot blade and the wider design makes it more socially acceptable.
PY: It's definitely a stunner. I really like how it's geared more towards an urban carry and use in a city. I'm sure it'll be very well-received and I can't wait for it to be released. With that, thank you so much for taking time out to talk to us about your work!
FC: Absolutely - it's been a pleasure! Thank you and the Urban EDC Supply team for taking the time to speak with us! Also, a big thank you to everyone who enjoys ENSIZEN knives!
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