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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts displays a selection of intelligently designed objects made by Quebec creators
Mario Gagnon (born in 1953) for ALTO DESIGN, Proposed Design for Dinnerware and Flatware, 2004, Walnut, resin, porcelain. On loan from Alto Design, Montreal. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest.

MONTREAL.- The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the culinary arts and homegrown creativity with the presentation of some fifty objects designed by Quebec creators. Exhibited in the Design Lab for contemporary design and decorative arts, the exhibition Bon appétit! Contemporary Foodware Designs in Quebec brings together the accoutrements of welcoming people to a table — the tools and equipment used for preparing, cooking, and keeping food — industrial and artisanal objects that are always attractive.

The exhibition features contemporary pieces by Loïc Bard, Diane Leclair Bisson, Louise Bousquet (Porcelaines Bousquet), Chifen Cheng (Maison Milan), Leïla Chouikh, Gaëlle Couléard, Michel Dallaire, Sol Desharnais, Manuel Desrochers (AQUAOVO), Koen de Winter, Marie-Hélène Beaulieu and Sébastien Duchange, Bob Katz and Sylvain Duchesne (Katz Design Inc.), Stéphane Dumont (Arbol Cuisine), Élyse Leclerc and Gabrielle Falardeau (Jarre), Mario Gagnon (ALTO DESIGN), Denise Goyer and Alain Bonneau (Goyer Bonneau), Audrée L. Larose & Félix Guyon (Larose Guyon), Jean-François Jacques (Météore Design), Tom Littledeer (Les pagaies du gourmet / Littledeer Tools), Patrick Mainville (ALTO DESIGN), Philippe Malouin, Paul Mathieu, Claude Mauffette, Amélie Lucier & Julien Mongeau (A + J Métissage), Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O’Connell (Dear Human Studio), Benoit Orban (ALTO DESIGN), Charles Godbout and Luc Plante, Monique Sainte-Marie (Sainte Marie Design Textile), Guillaume Sasseville (SSSVLL), Anne Thomas (TOMA Objects), Natasha Thorpe and Carlo Trevisani (Maison Milan).

Several of these creations have won awards in both Quebec and internationally. Among them, The Knife Reinvented by Chifen Cheng for Maison Milan won the award for object and accessories, kitchen and bathroom products, at the 11th edition of the Grand prix du design contest. The award for design kitchen object, accessory or product, small productions, was given, at the 10th edition, to the Denise eau Serving and Storage Dish by Jarre (Élyse Leclerc and Gabrielle Falardeau). The Perfect Mix Press and Measure Oil and Vinegar Dispenser, created by Benoit Orban (ALTO DESIGN) for Trudeau, was named Product of the Year in London in 2011 and was a finalist at the International Design Excellence Awards in 2012.

Some designers combine beauty with utility, form and function; others redefine the acts of eating and drinking through experimentation or creative projects. What is addressed here varies: grocery baskets, kitchen utensils and tableware, as well as the raw and the cooked, water and wine . . . even, in keeping with sustainable food practices, an edible plate.

“Fashioned by hand by woodworkers or produced within small craft-based firms, a number of these pieces – wooden tools, fine china, articles made from textiles or recycled paper, glass or ceramic cookware – appeal to the sense of touch. The exhibition pays tribute to several generations of designers, from established masters to those now coming to the fore, who, thanks to their expertise, give meaning to such utilitarian objects and promote a better way of living,” says Diane Charbonneau, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts, and Photography, MMFA.

Design and decorative arts at the MMFA
The exhibitions presented at the Design Lab, in the Liliane and David Ms. Steward Pavilion, highlight the creativity of contemporary Quebec designers across the spectrum of the decorative arts and design. Since 2008, the Museum has exhibited furniture, jewellery, sports equipment and toys, glass and ceramic pieces and leather objects and accessories, created by local artisans and designers, that were received on loan or were from the Museum’s collection.

Unique in Canada, the MMFA’s collection of decorative arts and design after 1900 contains over 6,100 objects – furniture, jewellery, ceramics, glass, silverware and textiles – executed by international designers. The collection retraces the major movements that have marked the history of decorative arts and design since 1900, especially Art Nouveau, Art Deco, modernism and post-modernism. In addition, the MMFA possesses one of the most important collections of decorative arts and design prior to 1900 in North America. Renowned for its scope, it comprises 4,150 objects, including silverware, glass, ceramics, metal, textiles, enamels and furniture. The richness of the materials and the range of styles testify to the quality of the collection and illustrate the evolution of the decorative arts between 1400 and 1900.

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