Moments of grace in Graz


The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is a United Nations body that unites 116 cities where creativity, diversity and cultural industries are at the heart of development plans. The network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music. Since 2006, Montréal has been part of the UCCN in the Design category, just like the city of Graz, in Austria.

Last spring, Montréal was the guest of honour at Designmonat (Design Month) in Graz. The Montréal contingent produced an exhibit entitled I was there – Montréal meets Graz. Six different zones took visitors through Montréal via surprising immersive experiences. They could walk through a Tempo shelter to escape from a snowstorm; view textile objects, posters and souvenir cards hanging on the laundry lines of an alleyway; pedal a Bixi bike to power a variable-speed film projector; and wander through emblematic urban sites visualized in 3-D shadow plays by Mere Phantoms, an artists’ collective.

Guillaume Sasseville was among the six designers making the trip. He presented Common Glass, the project which earned him the 2011 Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant—a crystal glass inspired by Montréal’s industrial production of drinking glasses and designed in Graz based on ancient Austrian techniques. An excellent international collaboration—and a great showcase for talented Montréal artists.