While experts are rethinking commercial design for the pandemic, a call for ideas is launched

September 24, 2020

Montréal’s Bureau du design, in partnership with Architecture sans frontières Québec, is launching “COVIDesign,” an applied research project to fundamentally reconsider commercial design during the pandemic, in particular the models employed in food services, restaurants, and retail sales. Recognized experts from all design disciplines have answered the call and engaged with the project.

Share your ideas and solutions on this matter online until October 19, 2020!

New commercial-design models should be unveiled in the spring in the form of 3D models and an online guide. These resources will serve as references for recipients of municipal commercial construction or renovation grants and as guides for business owners and designers in applying innovative and effective solutions for post-COVID commercial design. 

The project, which aims to improve businesses’ resiliency and profitability while providing a renewed experience for consumers, is perfectly in keeping with Montréal’s status as a UNESCO City of Design and with the implementation of the Montréal 2030 Agenda for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture. It also draws on the creative talents of numerous Montréal design and architecture professionals identified in the recent report emerging from the first Design Montréal Census.

The call for professionals published in July aroused great interest; some 30 applications were reviewed and, based on individual interviews, panel members and a facilitator were selected for the project. As a group, they represent all disciplines of design and architecture and contribute expertise in fields such as marketing, merchandizing, communication, ecommerce, experience design, brand management, universal accessibility, ergonomics, and sociology.

Under the direction of Montréal’s Bureau du design and coordinated by Architecture sans frontières Québec, the panel of experts will be facilitated by the highly experienced creative director Tony Babinski. In addition to the panel and advisory committee, guest speakers will also share their thoughts on commerce of the future in specific areas of focus.

Panel members

Etienne Bernier, architect, Etienne Bernier Architecture, lecturer at Université Laval’s School of Architecture 

Vincent Clarizio, industrial designer, creative director and partner, Signature Design Communication

Julien Delannoy, interior designer specialized in commercial and residential fields and exhibition scenography, practical training officer at Université de Montréal

François Desrosiers, BAA and MBA, president of Interim Marketing, lecturer in retail and merchandizing trends and strategies at HEC Montréal, lecturer in retail advertising at Université de Montréal

Jennylie Harel, graphic designer at Bélanger

Michel Lauzon, architect, urban designer, Fellow IRAC, president, founder and creative director of LAAB (Laboratoire Appliqué d’Architecture et de Brandscaping)

Evelyne Paris, architect, associate, project leader, market director, leisure & entertainment  at Lemay

Imen Ben Youssef Zorgati, interior designer, professor of design at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, researcher with the Université de Montréal Design and Society research group

Advisory committee 

Fabien Durif, full professor in the department of marketing and vice-dean of research at the UQAM School of Management Sciences, director of the Observatoire de la consommation responsable (OCR) and of GreenUXlab (FCI research lab in new user experiences and eco-responsibility

Philippe Gauthier, associate professor and founder of the Université de Montréal Design and Society research group, Ph.D. in sociology from EHESS (Paris, France), master’s in applied sciences of environmental design, and bachelor’s in industrial design from Université de Montréal

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, graphic designer, president and founding partner of SLD (Shikatani Lacroix Design - New York, Shanghai, Toronto), speaker and author 

Nicolas Labrie, architect, founding president of LabNco., specialist of interactions between design and human behavior, crator of the Epislowing methodology to reduce the pandemic impacts. 

Clémentine Le Meur, universal design consultant at Société Logique, master’s in building and infrastructure emergency at École SPéciale des Travaux Publics (Paris, France), master’s in  architecture from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne (Rennes, France)  

Patrick Vincent, graduate degree in ergonomic intervention in occupational health and safety issues, Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist, certified ergonomist specializing in architectural design ergonomy, and president of Vincent Ergonomie

Steering committee

Sylvie Champeau, master’s in project management, management control and analysis advisor, Bureau du design, Service du développement économique, Ville de Montréal

Bruno Demers, sociologist, executive director with Architecture sans frontières Québec

Stéphanie Leduc, environmental designer, event designer and interior designer, founder of Atelier EN TEMPS ET LIEU, project manager with Architecture sans frontières Québec

Elène Levasseur, environmental design, M.Sc. Environment (urban design), Ph.D. in environmental design, history, and theory of architecture, research coordinator with Architecture sans frontières Québec

Montréal: fertile ground for creativity and innovation in commerce

In June 2006, Montréal was named a UNESCO City of Design, joining an international network that today comprises 246 creative cities, including 40 design cities. In granting Montréal this title, UNESCO acknowledged the potential of Montréal designers to contribute to the city’s future, along with the engagement and determination of Montréal, other levels of government, and civil society to build on those strengths for the purpose of enhancing Montrealers’ quality of life. This designation is more than ever an invitation to base the (re)development of Montréal and its many attractions on design.

In December 2019, Montréal adopted the Montréal 2030 Agenda for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture. This policy document sets out guidelines, drawing on the creativity and innovation of designers and architects, in concert with other specialties such as engineering and urban planning, for a successful ecological and social transformation of Montréal. This policy position has become particularly meaningful during the pandemic and as part of an applied research project in commercial design.

In September 2020, the Bureau du design published the results of its first Design Montréal Census. The resulting report is the first true portrait of Montréal’s design and architecture professionals, along with the firms and organizations that employ them. It shows that Montréal is in many respects a fertile environment for the prosperity of the professionals who choose to live here. The vast majority of companies that make use of design and architecture are seeing increased financial results and competitiveness. Design professions are also experiencing a significant influx of emerging talent, with a quarter of professionals in the field under the age of 35. Moreover, 34 percent of Québec’s design and architecture professionals are located in Montréal, giving the city a distinctive asset on which to build.