Helen Fotopulos, Ville de Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for Culture, Heritage, Design and the Status of Women, today awarded the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant to Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat. The recipients work in the fields of interactive design and narrative environments. The $10,000 grant will enable Ms. Andraos and Ms. Mongiat to make a month-long research and creation trip to the Open Design City Lab in Berlin, a UNESCO City of Design, and to attend the DMY Berlin design festival.
“The Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant is an important token of our recognition of Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat, who take a communal approach that is enriching for our city and reflects the idea behind this grant,” Ms. Fotopulos stated with delight. “These two women are worthy ambassadors of Montréal, a UNESCO City of Design, because their projects inspire lively exchanges between member cities of the UNESCO Cities of Design network. We have every reason to be proud of these recipients.”
Phyllis Lambert herself also offered praise: “This third edition is an opportunity to salute once again this brilliant initiative of the City of Montréal, promoting talented young designers whose creativity is linked to the city. It is essential for our society’s advancement.”
The jury members were unanimous in recognizing the relevance of the connection between the research project and the chosen city, Berlin, and in choosing the winner. They were swayed by, among other things, the recipients’ generosity: the idea of getting passersby directly involved with the facilities is an excellent way of democratizing design and sharing it with the general public.
The jury comprised Béatrice Carabin, Commissioner in the Design Montréal office of the Ville de Montréal, Jean-Robert Choquet, Cultural Development Director of the Ville de Montréal, Randy Cohen, an architect with Atelier Big City, and Daria Der Kaloustian, Senior Co-ordinator, Publications, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA).
Putting people first
As part of their visit to the Open Design City Lab, Ms. Andraos and Ms. Mongiat wish to create a series of urban object prototypes that encourage exchange and communication between people on the street by inviting the public to contribute actively to the process and to retake possession of their space. These objects will be developed in the spirit of open design advocated by the Open Design City Lab, using the specialized resources the laboratory provides. The recipients also plan to test the prototypes with the Berlin community. In addition, they will use this trip to attend the DMY Berlin design festival, putting them in contact with the German city’s active community of emerging designers and facilitating discussions that can enhance their approach and the future of their collaboration.
Working in the new media field, Mouna Andraos reinvents everyday technological experiences, thereby stimulating conversations and the imagination with regard to the impact and role these new technologies have in our world. Her work as Creative Director with the Montréal firm Bluesponge has earned her many awards, including a Best of Show at SXSW and a Cyberlion at Cannes. Under the Electronic Crafts label, she also creates electronic objects in limited series that take an entertaining, participative and sustainable approach to product development. An example is Power Cart, a mobile electrical station providing renewable energy to passersby.
Melissa Mongiat’s approach revolves around participation by the public. Her creations have included a series of interactive environments for Royal Festival Hall in London, for which Wallpaper* magazine selected her as one of the world’s 10 most promising designers. She also stands out for her research projects in participative design, with institutions such as Arup and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Good Participation is the latest project under development and has already been presented at several international festivals and seminars.
The recipients have been working together for a year and are continually seeking new ways of interacting and telling stories. Their recent projects include Bloc Jam, a monumental interactive project for Mutek, and the Musée des possibles, an ephemeral installation for the Quartier des spectacles in Montréal.
About the Phyllis Lambert
Design Montréal Grant
The Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant was created in honour of Ms. Lambert, founding Director of the CCA, recipient of the 2008 Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban Institute of Canada, a Great Montrealer and defender of the emerging generation in design. The grant is awarded annually by the Ville de Montréal. It is intended to mark the outstanding quality of studies and work by Montréal designers who have 10 years or less of professional experience and to emphasize the interest they have shown in the city. Ms. Lambert also contributes to the professional development of this new generation as concerns urban design issues and promotes international exchanges within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.