30 years of municipal actions in design and a team devoted to enhancing quality in design and architecture in Montréal
Since creating the position of Design Commissioner in 1991, the Ville de Montréal has implemented numerous initiatives aimed at stimulating creation in design and promoting the local and international reputations of Montréal-based designers.
The Bureau du design falls under Montréal’s Service du développement économique. Structured around improving the design of the city and asserting Montréal’s status as a UNESCO City of Design , the Bureau du design’s mandate is to support public commissions in design and architecture (e.g., design workshops, design and architecture competitions), develop the market for Montréal-based designers and architects (e.g., CODE Souvenir Montréal gift items catalogue) and raise awareness of the talents of Montréal designers and architects (e.g., DesignMontreal Platform and UNESCO design cities subnetwork).
It is responsible for Montréal’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design in 2006, for the report that led to its extension in 2016, and for the review filed for the purpose of its renewal in 2021.
The Bureau du design initiated and is in charge of implementing the Montréal Agenda 2030 for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture, a policy document adopted in 2019 that sets out guidelines and leverages the creativity and innovation of designers and architects, in partnership with other fields such as engineering and urban planning, to carry out the Montréal’s green and social transition.
- Enhance value
- Commission work
- Experiment and innovate
- Discuss and share
- Raise awareness
- Support and educate
- Document and equip
Following the publication in 1986 of the Picard Report, which recognized design as a strategic development area for the city, the Ville de Montréal worked to implement a framework of initiatives that helped the city obtain, and give tangible expression to, its UNESCO designation.
1991 Position of Ville de Montréal Design Commissioner created
1995 Commerce Design Montréal competition (1995–2004) created
2003 First international Commerce Design Montréal licences awarded
2004 International New Design Cities symposium and publication
2005 Design of the City | City of Design municipal action plan adopted
International Design Alliance (IDA) head office established in Montréal
2006 Montréal appointed a UNESCO City of Design
Bureau du design created
2007 Design Montréal Open House created
November 2007 Rendez-Vous – Montréal, Cultural Metropolis
2008 2007–2017 Action Plan – Montréal Cultural Metropolis adopted: Commitment 3.2: Promote excellence in architecture and design
Commitment 4.4: Highlight Montréal’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design
2009 Montréal, UNESCO City of Design initiative launched
2012 Annual meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network held in Montréal
2013 Report Montréal, UNESCO City of Design in Action and Statistics, 2006–2012 issued
2014 International Colloquium "Unsitely! - Leveraging Design to improve Urban Construction Site" - Entretiens Jacques Cartier
2015 Special edition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Commerce Design Montréal Awards
2016 10th aniversary of Montréal's designation as a UNESCO city of design
2017 City Counsel commissions the Bureau du design to undertake the Montréal's Agenda for Design and Architecture Quality
2018 City Executive committee adops the Creating Montreal Design Action Plan (2018-2020)
2019 City Counsel adopt the Montreal Agenda 2030 for Design and Architecture Exemplarity and Quality and commissions the Bureau du design for its implementation
2020 COVID-19 pandemic: design solutions applied to emergency and economic recovery plans
The Bureau du design team
Marie-Josée Lacroix, Design Commissioner and Chief of Staff
Marie-Josée earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Université du Québec à Montréal. She also holds a master’s of information studies, specialization in design and architecture, from McGill University in Montréal and Columbia University in New York City. Motivated by her vision of the public sector’s duty of exemplarity and a desire to democratize and promote the idea of quality in design and architecture, Marie-Josée is committed to raising awareness among members of the public as well as the political and business communities. Since taking up her duties as Montréal’s first Design Commissioner in 1991, she has spearheaded multiple initiatives, which have led to the creation of the Bureau du design in 2005, institutionalization of design and architecture competitions within the municipal administration and, in 2006, Montréal’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design (for which she is the city’s representative) and related international outreach initiatives.
As the Bureau du design’s chief of staff, she is overseeing implementation of the Montréal 2030 Agenda for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture, adopted in December 2019. The city’s first-ever policy in this regard, the Agenda aims at the cross-cutting and strategic mainstreaming of design quality processes and all municipal practices.
Sylvie Champeau, Advisor, Management Control and Analysis
Sylvie holds a master’s degree in project management and is trained in multiple facets of administration. She has been dedicated for nearly 30 years to the promotion and development of design and architecture. After serving as director of the Société des designers d’intérieur du Québec, she founded her own communications and public relations agency. In a consulting capacity, she has been a curator of architecture exhibitions, executive producer of the Ordre des architectes du Québec’s architectural awards of excellence, and special projects coordinator for the SIDIM (Montréal’s interior design trade show). She has also undertaken many mandates for the Ville de Montréal’s Commerce Design Montréal awards and the Design Montréal Open House.
As an employee of the Bureau du design since 2012, Sylvie plays a cross-cutting and versatile role. Her interests include innovative and sustainable supply process optimization as well as awareness-raising and development actions in favour of Montréal design and architecture talents. As the Design Montréal platform webmaster, she co-ordinates the Bureau’s internal and external communications. A mentor and trainer, she designs and perfects workplace performance tools and helps implement them within the city’s Service du développement économique.
Caroline Dubuc, Design Commissioner
Caroline has a bachelor’s degree in art history as well as a master’s in urban planning science, specialization heritage, from Université de Montréal, and more than 25 years’ experience in urban development. She has worked as a heritage specialist for the Écomusée du fier monde and the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec, among others, and in consulting roles for various architecture firms. She went to work for the Ville de Montréal in 2004, spending five years with the city’s Conseil du patrimoine (heritage advisory board). Her approach is grounded in an open, scalable vision of the city and defence of meaningful, qualitative insertion of contemporary elements.
The city, architecture, public spaces and art practices have always been her core focus areas. In her early years working on heritage issues, she gained a keen understanding of urban planning challenges and exceptional analytical ability. Since joining the Bureau du design in 2009, Caroline has designed methods and developed strategies for fostering improved integration of design professionals in municipal projects. Over the years, she has developed in-depth knowledge of the legislative framework for municipal procurement, and brings this singular expertise to bear in providing support and guidance to competitions and other public-sector design contracting processes.
Emeric Boucher, Design Commissioner
Emeric has a master’s degree in architectural science from Université Laval and a graduate diploma in design and construction projects management from Université de Montréal, which he completed following studies in urban planning. He has worked for the Ville de Montréal since 2018. Following a stint in a borough office, in December 2019 he joined the Bureau du design team, with which he had regularly worked from 2014 to 2018 as an urban design consultant. Prior to that, he had also worked for a transit authority on user facilities and urban furniture projects, as well as in the arts and culture industry, where he provided support to local and international designers in implementation of projects in public spaces.
He is keenly interested in the role of design in the municipal sector in ensuring the quality of public spaces, facilities and services. At the Bureau du design, he contributes to development of actions and processes that aim to ensure design quality in Montréal, notably by providing advice and support on design commissions (e.g., competitions, design review panels, calls for projects, programming, post-occupancy evaluation) and development projects for public spaces involving all design disciplines.
Patrick Marmen, Design Commissioner
The holder of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Université Laval, Patrick is interested in the implementation of mechanisms for promoting and framing quality in public and private development projects and in approaches to culturally driven land-use planning. After collaborating on numerous urban and landscape characterization studies, in 2011 he joined the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal, working on development of design-driven research projects, including the YUL/MTL Moving Landscapes international ideas competition, as well as co-ordination of WAT_UNESCO international urban design workshops held in Brazil, China and France. Prior to joining the Bureau du design in the fall of 2020, he helped oversee landscape architecture and urban design competitions including the competition to redevelop McGill College Avenue in Montréal, and moderated design panels.
Driven by the desire to share his enthusiasm for the city and its spatial planning, Patrick has been a lecturer at the Université de Montréal School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, a member of the planning advisory committee of the Sud-Ouest borough, and Chair of the Ville de Montréal’s Comité Jacques-Viger. At the Bureau du design, he continues to work on development of design competitions, workshops and panels.
Bureau du design, Service du développement économique
Ville de Montréal
700, rue De la Gauchetière Ouest, 28e étage
Montréal (Québec) H3B 5M2