Design Icon ‘Bertus’ – Alain Monnens

Every other week, together with Sjiek / Het Belang Van Limburg, we present a Limburg design icon, or one that is well on its way to becoming one. This week it is ‘Bertus’ by Alain Monnens.

WHAT: Bertus is a sleek armchair with an external metal frame that integrates both armrest and legs in one smooth motion.

YEAR: 2009

Industrial designer Alain Monnens lives and works in Roeselare. He, who was born and grw up in Bree, followed his love. Now it turns out that he is more closer to his customers on the other side of the country, such as lighting manufacturer tossB or furniture company Durlet.

Monnens is a designer of the straight lines. His portfolio includes a wide range of products for numerous manufacturers, who together seem to form a complementary world from lighting and tables to household goods. His Moments service for Point-Virgule was awarded an iF Design Award last month.

The Bertus – a club armchair for the renowned Durlet – characterizes Monnens ’design style. “Anton Vanzieleghem, the business manager, told me during a friendly get together, that they were missing a club chair in their sofa range. And that their customers often asked for a simple but functional addition to their long couch or corner sofa, ”explains Alain Monnens.


The conversation led to a deceptively simple design: an armchair where the frame is visible on the outside and the cushions seem to clamp together. With the help of a square metal tube, he managed to create a light-footed triangle: the front leg merges into the armrest and runs at the back to the center, then bends down and disappears underneath the seat. “The search was for the right proportions and optimum sitting position. After three prototypes that mission was accomplished.”

The Bertus characterizes Alain Monnens and his desire for products that are timeless due to their well-conceived functionality and aesthetics. In this case: the way the seat floats above the floor and the double decorative stitching, which discreetly accentuates the lines of the model and the frame.

“This design is very emotionally charged for me, because it came about in the period that my father died. The name is a tribute to him. His name was Lambert, but his brother always called him Bertus. I never confessed the true nature of that name at Durlet. Until now.”

The Bertus may have been in the Durlet catalog for ten years, the sales continue to hold the same good figures every year as in its introduction year in 2009. In 2010 it was even awarded a Red Dot Award, the first award for the manufacturer.

Bertus is available in fabric or leather and in frame colors black, white or dark gray. Prices start from 1,400 euros. and