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 34 member cities in seven centres of creativity (Cinema, Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music), including 11 Cities of Design (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; Berlin, Germany; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Graz, Austria; Kobe, Japan; Montréal, Canada; Nagoya, Japan; Saint-Étienne, France; Seoul, South Korea).
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.
Some key dates
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
- 2013–2017 Action plan to come
Bureau du design
Ville de Montréal
303, rue Notre-Dame Est, 6e étage
Montréal (Québec) H2Y 3Y8
The Bureau du Design receives financial support from the Ville de Montréal and the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications under the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, and from the Ville de Montréal as part of implementation of the Entente Montréal 2025 reached with the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine.