Belgian excellence: Bertrand, palme d’or and artistic marbles

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Awarded at the Bologna Fair, the Gosselies company, a family business active in stones and tiles, has just organized two creation and design competitions intended to highlight national know-how.

There are many companies selling tiles, but the one that caught our eye is far from ordinary. Centered in Gosselies where it has its headquarters, its workshops and its showroom, but also in Wavre where it also has a showroom, Maison Bertrand has existed for three generations and today employs 90 people.

With an annual turnover of more than 25 million euros, it works mainly for professionals – kitchen designers, architects, contractors, tilers, landscapers – but also, to a lesser extent, for private individuals. Each year, 3,500 worktops come out of its workshops, while the store has an impressive stock of marble, granite and tiles, to which are added mainly Italian and Spanish ceramics from some fifteen brands.

“We are in constant contact with the whole world”intervenes Olivier Bertrand, managing director. “Our granite comes from India and Zimbabwe, our quartz from Vietnam and Mediterranean countries but also from Belgium, our marbles mainly from Verona and Carrara. »

To hear it, if the trend of the moment is clearly oriented towards granite, all tastes remain in nature, as suggested by the different boxes of the vast showroom, which play on the complementarity of products and solutions. “Clients not only come to us for the finished product, but also for a concept, a service and a mix of products enabling them to make an informed choice in the best conditions. Along with the architects, they are directly associated with our work, which is made entirely to measure”, adds Amélie Bertrand, cousin of Olivier and in charge of communication. Because here, it will be understood, everything is done in family.

Olivier and Amélie Bertrand: “We are in permanent contact with the whole world”, explains the first. ©DR

This year has been particularly prosperous for the company since last September it was awarded the Italian award from Confindustria Ceramica for Belgium at the Bologna Fair, which dictates global trends in the sector. “It’s a great reward in terms of numbers, recognition and notoriety”enthuses Olivier Bertrand.

And to explain to what extent ceramics are happily exploited today on a good number of supports, tables, furniture, counters, fireplaces, bathroom walls and more recently terraces, since there have been ceramics from 2 cm thick. “This provides continuity from the living room to the outside and is a real visual asset”adds Amélie.

The other success of the house is to have successfully organized two competitions intended to highlight the know-how of our craftsmen and our artists. As part of Be Artist, ten visual artists – sculptors, painters, ceramists – were selected from sixty applications to exhibit in the Gosselies showroom. The public prize was awarded to Anne Herman, who presented a work putting women in the spotlight.

“Clients not only come to us for the finished product, but also for a concept, a service and a mix of products allowing them to make an informed choice”

As for the second competition, Be Design, it consisted of challenging participants to give sparkle and light to a slab of marble-onyx. Among the twenty projects in the running, the professional jury chaired by Virginie Jacobs (“A brick in the stomach”) chose to reward the work of Amel and Bonhomme for a lamp that has made wonderful use of the translucent properties of marble. Notice to amateurs: the same competition will be launched from November 20 to 23, 2023, calls for projects being accepted until the 15th of the same month.

Other longer-term programs are still in the pipeline. Thus, Olivier Bertrand intends to build an additional building in Gosselies, in which a new marble factory will be integrated. Synergies with other marble works are also being studied to optimize production, while the company also plans to expand into Wallonia through new showrooms. “The Covid period has been beneficial to the construction sector”recalls the managing director. “During this period, we experienced a real boom in marble and tile orders. On the other hand, the current energy crisis is hitting the sector hard and we have not yet measured all the consequences. »

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Belgian excellence: Bertrand, palme d’or and artistic marbles