Creation of the Toulouse-based artist designer Kamel Sécraoui, alias "Chat Maigre", Naëlou is a participatory bench, carrying messages, fraternal values and poetry. It is offered as a support for dedications and thoughts, which are then transcribed directly into the material of this street furniture with modern lines. Thus, each piece becomes a unique element.
This spring, the designer inaugurated 15 Naëlou benches: 10 at the Pablo Picasso high school in Perpignan, with the Occitanie Region, 4 in the heart of the Mosson district in Montpellier, for the social landlord Erilia and 1 handed over to the municipality of Palaja in the 'Aude. Sowing positive words and smiles in the city like lovers carving century-old trees or public benches, this original creation offers a participative action to all those who wish to leave an imprint of their passage to "make people smile and enhance the positive", as the creator likes to explain. The Naëlou bench offers a unique and intimate, but also indelible and visible anchor in the space to which it will be dedicated. Made of powder-coated steel, or stainless steel if installed by the sea, the Naëlou bench is entirely made in France in the Kamel Sécraoui workshops.
“The idea germinated by thinking of the path that my children traveled every day to get to school. I wanted to leave them little notes here and there to accompany them in thought. But where ? This idea was followed by nearly 3 years of modeling and testing to create Naëlou, in accordance with all the constraints that public furniture must meet,” explains Kamel Sécraoui.
Today more than 50 Naëlou benches are scattered throughout France, meeting the needs of communities, associations or private actors. 15 new Naëlou benches are joining this collection this spring. In Perpignan, at the Pablo Picasso High School, the Occitanie Region, which asked the designer to create 10 Naëlou benches, personalized with the students' texts.
Thus 25 writing workshops around “fraternity” and “living together” took place, allowing nearly 500 students to give free rein to their imagination in order to create a joint participatory work. Christophe Bonnette, Principal of the Lycée, comments: “This universal project has allowed students to express themselves in a lyrical and poetic way with the only constraint of being positive! This project was unifying and was a real parenthesis for them”.
In Montpellier, the social landlord Erilia has just inaugurated 4 Naëlou benches, installed in the outdoor common areas of a residence in the heart of the Mossom district.
Here is how simple benches give birth to a unifying project, full of meaning.
Visuals ©: Nae