Winner of the annual Phyllis Lambert Design Montral Grant announced

Manon Gauthier, the Ville de Montréal’s Executive Committee Member responsible for Culture, Heritage, Design, The Space for Life and the Status of Women, recently awarded the annual Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant to the new-media, electro-acoustic and urban design artists’ co-operative Audiotopie. The Audiotopie team includes landscape architect and digital media artist Yannick Guéguen, composer and sound designer Étienne Legast, and composer and multidisciplinary artist Thierry Gauthier.

“Since 2008, we have been contributing to the professional recognition and influence of talented young artists, designers and architects. They constitute some of the driving forces of today’s and tomorrow’s economy. That is why we, in the city, are committed to providing you with venues for presenting and disseminating your work.”, said Manon Gauthier.

The $10,000 grant will enable the Audiotopie team, which designs immersive sound works closely connected to physical spaces through creation of sensory experiences, to go on a study trip during which its members will compare sound environments in the underground spaces of three Asian cities—Nagoya, Japan, Seoul, South Korea, and Shenzhen, China, all of which, along with Montréal, are UNESCO Cities of Design. The goal of their trip is to create a soundwalk, a sort of audio-guided tour of these “indoor cities.” They will define a methodology to equip the designers and facilitate collaborations among practitioners in various design disciplines and the sound designers. The sum total of this original work will be presented to Montrealers during the Art souterrain event in 2015.

For her part, Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, said: “I am fascinated by the interdisciplinary project developed by the winners of this 6th edition of the Grant. This award will certainly enhance their experience and lead to new and successful collaborative efforts through UNESCO’s dynamic Creative Cities Network.”

The jury members particularly appreciated this project, which is part of a wider approach involving reflection on the design of sound spaces and environments in an urban planning context. This year’s jury comprised Martin Houle, Architect and Founding Director,; Mario Mercier, Partner and Creative Director, orangetango; Émilie Retailleau, Curatorial Co-ordinator, Canadian Centre for Architecture; Gilles Saucier, Partner and Architect, Saucier + Perrotte; and Nancy Shoiry, Senior Director, Service de la mise en valeur du territoire, Ville de Montréal.

Audiotopie enables users of its works to place themselves in the shoes of a third party and discover a space through different eyes. Its creative process begins with an analysis of urban atmospheres, landscape and social interactions. A script is then written, using the outcomes of the analysis that expresses the inherent specificities of the urban environment. In the final step, an electro-acoustic music score is composed to sonically harmonize the physical space with the narrative elements.

Created in 2007 and awarded annually by the Ville de Montréal, the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant rewards the talent of a Montréal designer (or design collective) with less than 10 years’ professional practice, and having demonstrated exceptional quality in studies and work as well as a particular interest in the city. The grant is named in honour of Phyllis Lambert, a Great Montrealer and a staunch defender of emerging designers.

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