Carton Jaune at Atelier Punkt (image: Olivier Blouin)
Montreal’s designers gathered at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) for a live design event as part of the city’s fourth annual Portes Ouvertes design festival – centrepiece of the city’s efforts to position itself as Canada’s creative capital. Regard 9 featured nine designers producing work in front of the public in the atmosphere of a busy club night. Designers participating included London-based French Canadian Philippe Malouin and Montreal natives Guillaume Sasseville, Samare and À Hauteur d’Homme. Diane Bisson, the Montreal food designer (page 044), provided experimental snacks.
An experimental air pervaded the event. Malouin was attempting to make lampshades using a shrink-wrap material – winding it around a steel frame and then hitting it with a heat gun to shrink it down. A series of ten shades was made “to see if there’s any improvement” in the results of the technique, says Malouin. “It’s better to show a process than a finished product on a plinth.”
Meanwhile, the SAT – a vast space in the Quartier des Spectacles – resounded to Samare’s hammers. Samare, a four-person studio, has for four years strived to define a distinctly French-Canadian idiom in contemporary design. This is mostly done through its choice of materials: rawhide stretched over steel frames to make chairs and tables, laced with babiche, a material traditionally used to lace snowshoes. Other projects have used nylon webbing, sheepskin, beaver fur and a curling stone.
The taut rawhide pieces had an obvious tactile quality for those at Regard 9. “People were just touching it,” says Samare’s Mania Bedikian. “It was fascinating the reaction we had. It was just a sensual experience for the people visiting.”
On a smaller scale, Montreal artist and designer Guillaume de Sasseville was making wax versions of his Resized Rings, jewellery shaved at an angle by a file. De Sasseville was also behind another interesting project for the festival: the exhibition Carton Jaune at design gallery Atelier Punkt. For his annual shows at Punkt, Sasseville gives designers and artists two days to take useful objects and repurpose them according to a theme: this year, “yellow card”.
Testan table by Samare, 2009 (image: Samare)
Guillaume de Sasseville making wax Resized Rings at Regard 9 (image: Monique Savoie)
Philippe Malouin’s experimental lampshades at Regard 9 (image: Lambert Rainville)