Montréal is a city of designers: An interview with Event Designer Judith Portier
Judith Portier, Event Designer
Founder of Design par Judith Portier
— 8th in a 10-portrait series
Event designer Judith Portier launched her business in 2011.
“I leapt into the unknown with both feet! I sought out my first clients by convincing them how important it was to set up creative spaces for their events. I firmly believe that design is a communication medium that can touch people.”
For the first six years, her agency worked with clients like Équipe Spectra, Evenko and Tourisme Montréal by developing immersive experiences for their respective clients.
“No project is too complicated for me. I don’t see obstacles; I see possibilities. Innovating, taking the road less travelled, and generating new ideas are essential to my creative approach.”
This autumn, Judith Portier and her collaborators, the #fillesdedesign, i.e., “design girls”, created the set design for FestiCity, an celebratory exhibition at the Dorval Museum of Local History and Heritage bringing the city’s 125 years of history to life through images, videos, and artifacts.
“The centrepiece is an immense chandelier that integrates archival photos. Producing the chandelier was a challenge due to its sheer size relative to the space and its role as a living photo album. ”
Design par Judith Portier is currently collaborating with the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau to create an exhibition on popular music in Canada from the 60s to the 80s slated for 2018–2019.
“The underlying theme of this project is to open an intergenerational dialogue through music. We’re designing the exhibition areas where visitors will enjoy an interactive experience!”
Judith Portier likes to play outside, and adores tackling outdoor projects in the dead of winter. Last year, her agency won a prize at the Australia's Annual Good Design Awards for the design of Igloofest, an electronic music festival held in Montréal’s Old Port.
This year, her team will create a work for Illuminart, a circuit that combines art, light, and technology and will be held next February in the heart of Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles as part of the city’s Montréal en lumière festival.
“The work will be a collaboration with students from two primary schools in Montréal. It’s the second time we have participated in Illuminart. Last year, we created Charlotte: Les hommes sont des oiseaux de passage (tr.: people are birds of passage), a fun project that represented a field of luminous ostriches that reacted to the presence of visitors.”
Sharing the Montréal Experience
In 2016, the graduate in event design from Université du Québec à Montréal was invited to Mont-de-Marsan in France to share her event design expertise.
“L’École Supérieure de Design in Landes was organizing a flamenco festival and wanted the event to venture outside of indoor event venues, to take over the streets, and be more accessible. To achieve this objective, among other things, we found strategic spaces in the city for staging performances and for fostering interaction.”
To create her projects, the designer draws inspiration from travelling and observing her daily environment.
“Visiting farmers’ markets or taking the bus can become a source of inspiration. Reading is also an important source. For the Charlotte project, I read a lot about how ostriches behave in groups and about their physicality, especially when creating a metallic support informed by the shape of ostrich feet.”
In the next few years, Judith Portier wants to create more projects abroad. Her agency’s collaboration with C2 Montréal, an annual business conference, already led the designer to travel to San Francisco, Milan, and Zurich.
“In 2015, our team also designed the VIP spaces for the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York. Creating projects abroad is a great way to share Montréal with the world.”
The designer is really attached to the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough in Montréal where she lives and works.
“It’s a colourful, eclectic, French-speaking neighbourhood with a rich history. I also love Jean-Drapeau Park and the vestiges of Expo 67. Each time I visit this natural space, I feel serene.”
She also likes to take motorcycle trips.
“Last summer, my spouse and I went to South Carolina on our 1984 Goldwing, a 6,000-kilometre road trip!”
3081, Ontario Street East, suite 505
Montréal (Québec) H1W 1N7
Discover all the designers in the Design Montréal Directory who, like Judith Portier, are a source of pride and ambassadors for Montréal, a UNESCO design city.