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 is part of Montréal’s Service du développement économique. Its mission is to improve city planning together with designers and architects; to provide support and guidance to municipal departments and the boroughs in experimenting with processes that favour quality and promote the emerging generation of design and architecture practitioners (competitions, workshops, panels); and to develop the market for Montréal-based designers and architects (incentives, projects) while promoting their talent (locally and internationally).
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 by the UNESCO Creative Cities Newtwork
The "Bureau du design" was officialy created
2007 Design Montréal Open House launched
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
Patrick Marmen, Design Commissioner, Chief of Staff
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.
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 urban design (Université Laval) and a graduate diploma in design and construction project management (Université de Montréal), complemented with management of creativity and innovation (HEC Montréal and University of Barcelona) and hispanic studies (Université de Montréal). Before acting as an economic development commissioner, he has worked as a consultant, an advisor and a project manager in public organizations and in the culture sector.
At the Bureau du design, his work involves creating opportunities to stimulate and support organizations and people that leverage design to create value in Montréal. He aims to help diversify the design ecosystem by making room for up-and-coming designers and emerging practices that have the potential to shift perspectives and ways of doing things. Above all, he values curiosity, collaboration and the interweaving of disciplines, cultures and life experiences. Currently, he is especially interested in innovation practices, the creative economy, and challenges relating to diversity and social inclusion. Emeric is also involved in initiatives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Jacinthe De Guire, Design Commissioner
Jacinthe holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design along with a master’s in urban planning, during which she studied collaborative planning and design processes under the direction of the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal. That gave her the opportunity to work as a research assistant on land development projects. In that role she contributed, among other things, to the Montréal UNESCO City of Design, 2006-2012 summary report.
Jacinthe subsequently worked in the private sector, for design and architecture firms. From 2016 to 2021, she was part of Sid Lee Architecture’s team as a brand and business development manager. In that capacity, she contributed to the firm’s public and private market positioning strategies. She was also involved in developing collaborative tools and processes with Sid Lee’s other departments and, more broadly, across the kyu Collective, an international group of creative firms that includes C2 and IDEO. Jacinthe has also provided support to developers in preparing large-scale land acquisition bids, including for the Molson Coors redevelopment project and the first two editions of the C40 Réinventer Montréal competition.
Jeanne Leblanc-Trudeau, Design Commissioner
Jeanne has been working in design in Montréal since 2008. She studied architecture at Université de Montréal, where her academic work was recognized with a nomination for the Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners, awarded annually by the Canada Council for the Arts.
While working for several Montréal architecture firms, she was involved in the design of some thirty projects of various scales and programs, in addition to participating in finalist proposals for numerous architecture competitions. Driven by the idea of using her creativity to serve the public interest, Jeanne joined Ville de Montréal in 2015, where she led consultation and planning processes for the design of streets and public spaces, as well as the development of the city’s écoquartiers. Today, she puts her cross-disciplinary experience to use to fulfill the mission of the Bureau du design.
Justine Leggett-Dubé, Design Commissioner
Justine earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and a master’s in design and complexity from Université de Montréal, where her interests lay in consumer assistance and advice systems, and more broadly in the economics of design. She also pursued graduate studies in journalism. Justine has worked in the field of design since 2010, initially as a coordinator for a professional association and later as a design and communications consultant. She has also been a coordinator-designer for a social innovation living lab and a service designer.
As a commissioner, she takes a systemic approach to design. She is committed to broadening opportunities available to people who elucidate and get involved in more emergent design practices, and focused on strengthening the capacities of professionals who aim to design sensible solutions rooted in public value creation. She is driven by the desire to implement the essential conditions for achieving an inclusive and resilient city for all, while leaving ample room for experimentation and learning. More recently, Justine has been interested in the potential of behavioural sciences to guide decision-making.
Marie-Josée Lacroix, 1st Design Commissioner and Chief of Staff (1991-2021)
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 has been 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 was the city’s representative) and related international outreach initiatives.
As the Bureau du design’s chief of staff, she oversaw the 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.
Bureau du design, Service du développement économique
Ville de Montréal
700, rue De La Gauchetière Ouest, 28e étage
Montréal (Québec) H3B 5M2