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In Memoriam: Matthew Searle


December 1, 2015
by Elsa Lam

Matthew Searle

Matthew Searle

We are saddened to announce that design advocate Matthew Searle passed away peacefully but unexpectedly on Friday, November 27, after a brief illness. Matthew was beloved of his partner Pierre-Éric Villeneuve; siblings Suzanne, Hart and Paul Searle; his aunt Cynthia Coop, a professional interior designer in Winnipeg; and his many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Matthew combined his unique abilities and experience with a deep understanding of the confluence of the design, architecture and related manufacturing sectors. He truly believed in the power of design to effect change in the world and worked to demonstrate how creative approaches could have a positive impact on quality of life and the bottom line.

Matthew was President of Searle & Company in Toronto, a boutique marketing and business consultancy that creates innovative business development, branding and marketing solutions for clients focussed on the design and architectural industries. Matthew was on the board of TO DO, the Toronto Offsite Design Festival, directed marketing and business development at lighting design firm, Lightemotion, and was Chief Marketing Officer for the 2017 World Design Summit in Montreal. This event involves the collaboration of 50 international organizations with delegates expected from 80 countries, representing the professional disciplines associated with the built environment.

Previous to this, Matthew was Marketing and Conference Director of IIDEXCanada for eight years; operated his Montreal-based Rapport marketing firm; developed further expertise with Triede, Azure, Canadian Interiors, Blackstock, Beaton Group and SIDIM; co-founded FaxSource based on that emerging technology; and worked with the team at Designers Walk’s Resource Centre after starting his career in making connections with Daina Leja. Matthew’s travel to design capitals around the world added to his considered viewpoint and his input was always in demand; he served as a juror on the OAA Awards, ARIDO Awards and Best of Canada Awards and was a board and committee member of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.

Matthew’s introduction to his chosen field began early and in Winnipeg: His father, Jack Searle, started his career with Ideal Brass before co-founding Sawhill Furniture and subsequently the buying group, Furniture West; and as a young man, Matthew had a part-time job sorting the archives at Number TEN Architectural Group for his uncle, architect Isadore Coop.

There will be a private celebration of Matthew’s life at his beloved home in Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval in 2016. If desired, cards may be sent to Pierre-Éric Villeneuve at 100, rue du Grand-Fond, Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval, Québec, G0A-3K0 and donations in Matthew’s memory may be made to the Syrian Refugee Crisis at the Furniture Bank,