Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant - Designer Guillaume Sasseville Draws Inspiration from Austrian Glassmakers for his Verre Commun Project

Montréal, July 11, 2014 – The Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du design is pleased and proud to present the outcome of the research and development work conducted by designer Guillaume Sasseville (studio SSSVLL), the 2011 recipient of the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant, via his project Verre Commun. The grant award allowed Mr. Sasseville to revisit Montréal’s industrial golden age through the prism of Austrian glassmakers’ time-honoured skills.

Since 2008, Mr. Sasseville has been engaged in a search for the common: that point of resonance where materials, objects, spaces, and uses strike a chord. His work is imbued with a profound respect for the artisan’s craft.

In designing his “common glass,” Mr. Sasseville was guided by the sensuous potential of industrial processes. Among other sources, he consulted the archives of North American Glass Works of Montréal (later Dominion Glass Co.), one of the largest glass manufacturers in Canada. The contributions of that manufacturer’s workers to the decorative arts have been hailed by historians and collectors alike.

The biggest inspiration for Mr. Sasseville, and the source of the formal language of his Verre Commun, were Dominion Glass’s elegant, customizable “common tumblers,” as well as the graphic details on a glass produced for Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. He further honed his creative process on a study trip to Graz, Austria (like Montréal, a UNESCO City of Design), where semi-industrial glassware production is still a going concern.

Made of crystal, the common glass possesses a finely calibrated material presence. Like its predecessors, it is an 8 oz. (227 ml) tumbler in the English style. In the hand, the common glass, full or empty, has a surprising weight—neither light nor heavy, but rather exact. Its gently sloping curve gradually thickens, cascading from its expertly refined lip (0.6 mm) down to its narrowing base.

“The Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant allowed me, through the Verre Commun project, to explore glass as a material,” Mr. Sasseville says. “It gave me a one-of -a-kind, privileged opportunity to take the time to understand both the potential and the limits of that material, specifically crystal. And when I travelled to Graz, the collaborating city on Verre Commun, I met other designers, local glassmakers, and the people from the Graz design office. The shared points of view, references and ideas, and the fact that I’m now just an e-mail away from them, has opened up a whole new playing field for my art.”

To download images of the Verre Commun project, visit

About the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant

The Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant is a prestigious distinction that aims to recognize and promote the talents of emerging designers. Created by the Ville de Montréal in 2008, in tribute to Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), the $10,000 grant is awarded each year to a designer or design collective with fewer than 10 years’ practice, and having demonstrated exceptional quality in studies and work.

For more information about the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant, visit

About the Bureau du design

The mission of the Ville de Montréal's Bureau du Design is to develop the market for, and promote the talents of, Montréal -based designers and architects by advocating processes that call for public commissions, such as design and architecture competitions. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network, of which Montréal is a member as a City of Design, comprises 41 cities in 23 countries and enables creative practitioners in member cities to share experiences, best practices and knowledge on an international scale.


Stéphanie Jecrois

Design Commissioner
Bureau du design de la Ville de Montréal
514 872-5388

Stéphanie Quirion

Kilicom Public Relations
514 260-0603
514 845-8222, ext. 223

Marie-Josée Gauvin

Kilicom Relations publiques
514 845-8222 ext. 222