Saved By Design

Barbara Steinman, Lux Obscura 2. © Photographe par René Arseneau.jpg

By Stéphane Le Duc

Montreal hosted the first World Design Summit under the theme Provoking Change by Design. This was a unique historical moment that gathered 350 artists and 500 speakers from around the world. Once gathered, they discussed the influence and role of design in our society and its crucial impact on our future and the environment. The signing of The Montréal Design Declaration closed the summit, which was signed by over 15 international organizations in recognition of design’s potential to help achieve global, economic, social, cultural, and environmental objectives. The event also confirmed Montreal’s UNESCO status as a City of Design, just as the city celebrates its 375th birthday.


One of the attractions of the World Design Summit was the VIA booth, an organization that has highlighted French designer talent since the late 70s. Its installation No Taste for Bad Taste, designed by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, celebrated the unique know-how of the hexagon, which continues to innovate whilst conserving its finesse and elegance. You could also appreciate the work of Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance with his Borghese Sofa, which was directly inspired by nature.

BSteinman Lux Obscura3.jpg

China also shone a light on the works of some of its most talented designers. Often renowned for its industrial production, the country has now demonstrated its rich and diverse pool of creativity through a promising new generation of talented designers. Modernity and digital innovation perfectly characterize artist Zhang Zhoujie’s work, whose futuristic creations combine unpredictable and pure logic. The results are quite fascinating.


When we saw the Brazilian showroom, we were quite impressed by the large spectrum of talent. Designer Luciano Santelli, originally from São Paulo, distinguished himself from the rest with his minimalistic design in which he embraced the multicultural origins of Brazil. With great flair, he mixes and combines industrial and natural material, future and past references, and always delivers an impeccable finish. He’s one to watch out for.

Barbara Steinman, Lux Obscura 4. © Photographe par René Arseneau.jpg

One of the most intriguing showcases was the booth named Syncosium, where six Canadian designers were matched with six international designers. Here, they intersected, encouraged the sharing of knowledge between disciplines, and carried a conversation between art and design. The art piece Lux Obscura by Barbara Steinman was the perfect symbol and example of how art and design could be the precursor for change. Let’s hope that the first edition of the World Design Summit, this new gathering of creative minds, is just the beginning of a great global movement that will thrive and design a meaningful future. We are glad to see that its first ever event took place in the city of Montreal.