KAIROS Prize (75.000 euros) the European Cultural Award

Kairos Price  (75.000 euros)  the European Cultural Award by the A.Toepfer foundation in Germany to honor Katell Gelebart   “as a creative visionary revisiting what’s already there.”


Katell Gélébart, born in Brittany in 1972, grew up in a creative family and discovered the world of design as a child: she made clothes for the teddy bear and furniture for the dolls from scraps of fabric and cardboard boxes that she found around the house. This principle of recycling characterizes her creative work to this day.


She first studied art history at the Ecole du Louvre, then she did her master's degree in Danish at the Sorbonne. During her studies in Paris she was involved in various environmental organizations. She opened her first shop for recycled fashion in Amsterdam in 1998. The shop no longer exists, but its name has become the program: ART D'ECO. Katell Gélébart has been creating clothing, bags, lamps, furniture and other objects under this label for more than ten years. With impressive consistency, she only uses materials that already exist: packaging from New Zealand households, silk from Indian production surpluses, felt from the Soviet army stocks or old linen sacks from the Deutsche Post. Other designers have also embraced the concept of recycling, but Katell Gélébart has been working with this method for a long time and in a pioneering way.


Award winner Katell Gélébart makes a lamp from old aluminum blinds

She is less concerned with sophisticated cuts or fashionable trends and more with the conscious and careful use of materials. What others perceive as a limitation inspires their imagination. Creating something new without wasting resources or producing waste is both a challenge and an inspiration for her. And at the end of the creative process, something unexpectedly beautiful emerges: a raincoat made from brightly colored cat food packaging or an elegantly curved lamp made from old aluminum blinds.


However, her work not only has an aesthetic, but also an ethical dimension. As a modern nomad, Katell Gélébart is globally networked and always treats the people she works with with curiosity, respect and empathy. It goes without saying for them to take local peculiarities into account. Dealing sensitively with people and their history creates a climate of trust and opens many doors for the designer. Katell Gélébart represents her views convincingly and passionately, but does not want to denounce or proselytize. Of course, her work is a critique of consumerism, waste and superficiality, but beyond that, she's excited to see the aesthetic potential of things that others would throw in the trash. The KAIROS Prize therefore recognizes Katell Gélébart above all as a creative visionary.


The award ceremony took place on March 4, 2012 in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. On the same day, an exhibition of design objects by Katell Gélébart was opened at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, which was on view until May 6, 2012.

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