Emerging Montreal-based practice Pelletier de Fontenay recently won the 2015 Phyllis Lambert Grant. Established in 2007 by the City of Montreal and named after Montreal native Phyllis Lambert, the grant puts the city's design scene in the spotlight. The $10,000 grant recognizes a locally based designer or firm — who has no more than 10 years of practice — for producing outstanding designs and research that could also benefit the city.
Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay were presented with the prize during a ceremony at City Hall, with Phyllis Lambert, jurors, and guests of the design community in attendance. Their winning project, "Architectures de la nature captive", is reflective of their ongoing investigation of the complex relationship between the built and natural environments. They'll be using the grant to fund a trip to Germany to study the architecture of nature museums.
Read on for more and for a glimpse of Pelletier de Fontenay's work.
"The winners of this 8th edition come from an architectural background, and their creative process focuses on integrating and heightening the relationship with the natural world,' stated Phyllis Lambert. 'Contemporary issues about the relationship between humanity and nature are complex and rich with meaning, and I hope for MM. Pelletier and de Fontenay that their work will be nourished by fruitful exchanges and debates with their European peers. I have no doubt that it will benefit our local institutions as well.'
"The jury was impressed with the focus of Pelletier de Fontenay's proposal, which fits directly and logically with the Insectarium Metamorphosis competition. 'We feel that the spinoff from their project has concrete applications for Montréal museums, and that their research will contribute significantly to the city and the advancement of their profession,' said jury spokesman Francis Brisebois, industrial designer and Corporate Advisor – Wayfinding, Société de transport de Montréal."
Next April, Pelletier and de Fontenay will travel to four cities in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network: Berlin, Hanover, Mannheim and Heidelberg. These cities will offer them "a unique historical perspective, since they are home to a number of nature museums with a history dating back several centuries. They will visit a dozen institutions there and conduct a series of interviews with German professionals."
'Our Architectures de la nature captive project has been radically transformed as our way of thinking about the relationship between humans and nature has evolved,' Pelletier and de Fontenay said in a statement. 'The Phyllis Lambert Grant gives us a fabulous opportunity to gain a better understanding of these institutions, the history of the ideas that inform them, and the architecture that embodies them.'
"The study trip, directly linked with their recent work will fuel the two architects’ imaginations, while giving them a better understanding of the close connections between architecture and the living world. Their research will help them design the Insectarium Metamorphosis and is sure to inspire some new and innovative applications.
Once back home, the architects will share their findings and observations in the form of a digital publication, a sort of collection of virtual objects, containing selected images and commentary, and the video interviews conducted during their trip."
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