25 years of municipal actions in design
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.
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 (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., Commerce Design, Design Montréal Open House).
In June 2006, Montréal was named a UNESCO City of Design, and became part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, established in 2004. To date, the Network comprises 180 member cities in seven centres of creativity (Cinema, Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music), including 31 cities of design.
In attributing the title to Montréal, UNESCO acknowledged the potential of designers to contribute to the city’s future, as well as the commitment and determination of the Ville de Montréal, other levels of government and civil society to build on that strength for the purpose of enhancing Montrealers’ quality of life.
The UNESCO designation is neither a label nor a form of recognition. It is an invitation to develop Montréal around its creative forces in design.
Montréal UNESCO City of Design is thus a project for an entire city. A collective project that, to become a reality over time, demands that all stakeholders—elected officials, citizens, experts, entrepreneurs and designers—buy into it and make it their own.
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
New location as of January, 2017
Bureau du design
Ville de Montréal
700, rue De la Gauchetière Ouest, 28e étage
Montréal (Québec) H3B 5M2
Head of the Bureau