Design Icon ‘Neo’ – Frederik Aerts

  • Words

    Christophe De Schauvre

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 NEO by Frederik Aerts for Berghoff.

WHAT: Cooking pots with patented pouring system where you can drain the cooking fluid without having to remove the lid.

YEAR: 2008

Exactly 25 years ago, Frederik Aerts graduated as a product designer. Although he first started working for Limburg’ main producers such as lighting manufacturer Multiline and then radiator company Vasco, his years of service at Berghoff are startling. From crockery to chef’s knives, from fruit bowl to cooking pots and peelers … there is really nothing in the basic equipment of the kitchen that Frederik Aerts has not thought of. Although he regards design as so much more than “giving shape”. It is not about old wine in new bottles, or in terms of Berghoff rather than carafes, wine glasses or coolers.


The idea for the Neo collection has been somewhat different. It did not start from an innovative form, but from a basic research. “Draining water is one of the biggest obstacles. Either the handles get too hot or you start fumbling with a towel and the lid, or you have to get a colander. It always something, “says Frederik Aerts. Not a cold trick. That is why he came up with a cooking pot whose handles lie in the plane of the lid with a special opening in it. In this way, you can drain the cooking fluid without any accessories or danger to your own life.

An almost simple solution for a banal cooking pot. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Exactly. A designer makes the difference. Although no technical patent was possible, a formal patent could be taken. Neo grew into a successful collection and the handy cooking pot into an icon. A milestone in Frederik Aerts’ career and at the same time a prime example of good design: innovative, useful, unobtrusive, aesthetic, easy to understand and honest. “Simply brilliant” headlined a design magazine.


Ferderik Aerts has had a large share in the worldwide advance of Berghoff, and the manufacturer and the designer have always strengthened each other in this. Many of his products or collections have the status of bestseller and received numerous design awards. On the honors list: Henry van de Velde award, Design plus, Red Dot, IF Design, Good design awards, Innovation Awards, even a few years ago the title ‘Europe 40 under 40’ as one of the 40 most promising European designers under 40 year. World top, but sober in the head. That also typifies the designer.

In his years as a Berghoff house designer, he had an impressive rhythm of two new designs a week. “And yet there is so much that I would still like to draw. But that world of kitchen instruments is so incredibly varied and that made the job at Berghoff so exciting, because there is always a demand for new products. ”Since the summer of 2015, he has been working as an independent designer and has made his knowledge available to others. companies such as Promeco and Sanodegusto in Kortrijk. “The latter innovates with table porcelain that can retain heat in the plate,” it still sounds. “But it is just as well about new table linen at Pavelinni in Tongeren and technical designs for ceramic bicycle bearings at C-Bear.” The design rhythm is now somewhat lower, but the passion is no less. That’s how he shapes his life.