April 2, 2009
by Canadian Architect
Three Montreal designers have won first prize in the ideas competition for the illumination of the Gesù façade for their sensitive proposal entitled Rencontre sur les marches de l’église.
Organized by the Quartier des spectacles Partnership, the Gesù and the City of Montreal’s Design Montréal agency, the competition drew 37 entries from three continents. Evoking the soft and fragile glow of candlelight, the entry from BCK design, a firm founded by UQAM environmental design graduates Mathieu Koch, David-Alexandre Côté and Steve Blanchette, captured the attention of the jury who awarded the three designers the $10,000 first prize.
The $5,000 second prize went to Martin Labrecque and Jean Laurin, both Montreal-based lighting designers, for their submission Deux mondes, un lieu. New York architects James Long and Athena N. Anders won the $3,000 third prize for Light Shadow Dream. The jury recognized the distinctive theatricality with which both of these submissions revealed the spirit of place present at the Gesù.
As a site of activity in both the artistic and the spiritual domains, the Gesù brings together a diverse public, and the Lighting Up the Gesù exhibition was open to visitors in late January. Roughly one thousand visitors took the opportunity to vote for their favourite submission to make their voices heard. Interestingly, the results of the public vote were generally in accordance with the choices of the jury. From the six submissions that received the most votes, the $2,000 People’s Choice Award went to Jonathan Barro and Stéphane Caissy of Montreal, the creators of Gesù architectural.
Given the quality of the projects submitted to the competition, the recommendations of the professional jury and the votes of the public, the stakeholders now have the key elements they need to decide what kind of lighting scheme will best reveal the identity of the Gesù as the heart of the Quartier des spectacles. The process of reflection and dialogue will continue until the necessary architectural, artistic and financial components are in place.