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Monoxyl Bertrand Lacourt

Published 08 / 04 / 2017

Bertrand Lacourt has been a cabinetmaker for over 20 years in high-end fittings and decoration. We found him at the Rendez-vous café, in the Denfert-Rochereau district, to tell us about his Monoxyle project.

Around 6 years ago, Bertrand decided to create his own workshop, which he later named Monoxyl. This term, from the Greek “mono” meaning a single one and “xylos” meaning wood, designates a technique used by technicians and auctioneers to talk about an object made from a single piece of wood.

The chainsaw as the main tool

A Parisian for a long time, he developed a taste for Burgundy a few years ago. These weekends in the countryside allowed him to study in depth the techniques of the chainsaw and the log. Bertrand then explains to us that these chainsaw cutting techniques come from the hippies of the Californian coast in the 60s. They would have found in the chainsaw a more accessible means of cutting logs, an alternative to the ax. This technique was subsequently exported to France thanks to Jean-Michel Houdart, who created the Ecole de la Fuste, allowing a real reconsideration of the tree and its tools.

A hard and raw wood

Bertrand works mainly with oak, a hardwood which represents a sector of exploitation all by itself. He first cuts the tree trunk with a chainsaw, then refines the shape in the workshop with his many tools - gouges, planes, planes, rasps etc. The wood he works with at the start of the process is so-called green wood, which, when carved, is dried. The drying cracks are impossible to avoid, but Bertrand does not try to hide them. What interests him is above all a raw and natural wood. It can achieve two types of artisanal finishes on the Monoxyle chairs. Either he decides to discolor the wood to obtain a clear finish, or he burns the surface, brushes the soot, then fixes the whole with a mixture of linseed oil.

All of its chairs are cut along the length of the trunk, so as to always have the greatest lengths of grain wood. This then contributes to his monoxyl writing, revealing a minimalist approach in which the famous “less is more” is perfectly represented.

WE love

The raw use of wood and his passion for his work.

  • Photographer: Bertrand Lacourt
  • Location: Burgundy and Paris region, France
  • Year: 2009
  • Website: