Chantal Rossi, Ville de Montréal Associate Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Design, today presented the 2014 Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant to Émilie F. Grenier, a narrative-experience designer and graduate of London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Ms. Grenier received the grant, which is awarded annually by the City of Montréal to recognize and promote the talents of emerging Montréal designers, at a ceremony held at Montréal City Hall and attended by Ms. Lambert. Ms. Grenier will use the $10,000 grant award to create a collection of urban narrative objects that will effect a dialogue between two UNESCO Creative Cities, Montréal and Reykjavik, Iceland.
“The grant recipients are true ambassadors of Montréal creativity and I want to thank them for their participation,” noted Ms. Rossi. “For the first time this year, the award acknowledges a multidisciplinary project that combines design and literature by encouraging forward-looking networking between Montréal, a UNESCO City of Design, and Reykjavik, a UNESCO City of Literature.”
For her part, Ms. Lambert, Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, said: “Once again, I would like to thank the City of Montréal for establishing this grant, which does so much to encourage young designers to develop their talents. The winner of this 7th edition takes an intercultural approach that is truly captivating. She is informed by many different cultures, especially those of the Nordic countries, and she brings that knowledge to bear on our own heritage in a very imaginative way, promoting awareness of the importance of art to society and of the rich experiences of artists abroad.”
The story-telling power of objects
Ms. Grenier is an impassioned designer of narrative experiences, a process of exploratory creation that draws from all design disciplines with an eye to telling stories, provoking reflection, and stirring emotions.
She will be packing her bags next February for a study trip to Reykjavik, where she will meet with emerging creators who are part of Iceland’s effervescent design and literature communities, and study ways in which local materials can be used to tell stories—those of local authors but also those of their city. She will also investigate the canon of contemporary Nordic texts and the material specificity of the Icelandic urban environment. This process will lead to a collection of samples into a materials library, to be shown at the DesignMarch festival in Reykjavik in March 2015.
After a month’s stay in Iceland, Ms. Grenier will return to Montréal to continue her research and validate the approach developed in Reykjavik. She will pay particular attention to potential common grounds between these two members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and how to engage dialogue between them. The materials library will be enhanced as a result, and an initial collection of narrative objects emblematic of Montréal–Reykjavik will be created and shown in Montréal.
Visibly thrilled, this year’s award recipient thanked the members of the jury for this unique opportunity to embark on a project that dovetails perfectly with her work on narrative design. “A major part of my work stems from an exploratory process that takes shape during the research phase. That’s why it’s so extraordinary to be able to benefit from this grant, whereby the study trip is viewed as an integral part of the project,” she said.
To find out more about Ms. Grenier’s project, watch the video.
Georges Labrecque, Project Manager at the Centre de design de l’UQÀM, and a member of the jury noted: “We were particularly attracted to the designer’s sensibility and the originality of the creative approach she developed. Émilie F. Grenier’s project is innovative in that it focuses on a meeting of two disciplines that are rarely brought together, design and literature, and two cities, Reykjavik and Montréal, which will each reap the benefits of establishing cultural ties.”
Besides Mr. Labreque, the jury for this year’s Phyllis-Lambert Design Montréal Grant included Giovanna Borasi, Chief Curator, Canadian Centre for Architecture; Diane Charbonneau, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Maxime-Alexis Frappier, Partner and President, ACDF* Architecture; and Stéphane Ricci, Assistant to the Director and Co-ordinator, Quartier des spectacles, Ville de Montréal.
About Émilie F. Grenier
Émilie F. Grenier has a master’s degree in Textile Futures from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design of London. Her work as a designer focuses on narrative objects and experiences. Her most recent project, Disquiet Luxurians, which is a collection of luxury objects that challenges economic and social inequalities, was selected by the renowned British designer Tom Dixon, curator of the 2013 MOST Salone in Milan, and went on to be exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the London Design Festival, at Dutch Design Week as part of the group show Material Narratives, and at London’s Protein Gallery. Ms. Grenier also collaborated on the project In the Mouth, shown at Centre Phi in October 2014, and on the commemorative path La marche du vent in Lac-Mégantic, created by the studio Daily tous les jours and inaugurated in July 2014. Accounts of her work have been published in Wallpaper*, Dezeen, Protein Journal, Form Magazine, Abitare, Elle Decoration, Viewpoint and Fubiz, among others.
About the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant
Created in 2007 and awarded annually by the Ville de Montréal, the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant rewards the talent of a Montréal designer (or design collective) with less than 10 years’ professional practice, and having demonstrated exceptional quality in studies and work as well as a particular interest in the city. The grant is named in honour of Phyllis Lambert, a Great Montrealer and a staunch defender of emerging designers. For more information about the grant, visit mtlunescodesign.com.
About the Bureau du design
The mission of the Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du design is to develop the market for, and promote the talents of, Montréal-based designers and architects by advocating processes that call for public commissions, such as design and architecture competitions. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network, of which Montréal is a member as a City of Design, comprises 41 cities in 23 countries and enables creative practitioners in member cities to share experiences, while promoting the international exchange of best practices and knowledge.
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