The ico-D Special Meeting of Design Weeks, Design Cities and Design Museums was conducted in Montréal, Canada on 21 October 2017. Held at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the Special Meeting brought together representatives of 15 organisations from ten different countries, and was conceived to determine how the international design community can better collaborate to achieve mutual goals and tackle shared challenges. The Special Meeting was a valuable opportunity for international entities to share successful programmes, experiences, and best practices. The global design landscape is varied and vibrant, composed of organisations across a spectrum of formats, each with particular objectives and audiences. Many of these objectives are shared, and many programmes complement each other, while each entity has unique qualities and capacities. Just as we share objectives, we face similar challenges and would all benefit from enhanced collaboration.
The ico-D Special Meeting of Design Weeks, Design Cities and Design Museums was held at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts located in the city’s downtown Golden Square Mile. Founded in 1860 by private art collectors, the museum accumulated sculptures, paintings, drawings, and prints until 1912 when objects of design, decorative arts, and world cultures were included in the collection. Today, the museum is the largest in Montréal and holds a collection of over 41,000 pieces from a variety of disciplines. Large-scale exhibitions of works outside the museum collection present diverse works, and recent years have featured Dave Cihuly, Jean Paul Gauthier, and Marc Chagall.
The Special Meeting was conducted in a private room on the second floor of the main museum building, the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion. Inaugurated in 1991, the five-storey building was designed by renowned Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. The façade of the original 1905 building was retained, which maintained the structure’s historical properties and integrated the project into the existing neighbourhood architecture. The building is characterised by a modern glass atrium that allows for all levels of the pavilion to be seen from the entryway.
Special Meeting participants together toured the museum’s Decorative Arts collection located in the Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion—a 1976 extension to the original museum building, designed by architect Fred Lebensold. The majority of works in the Decorative Arts collection were given to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts in 2000 from the Montréal Museum of Decorative Arts that no longer had the space to exhibit the objects. These works are known as the Stewart Collection and include pieces from 1935-2000.