Michel Dallaire to design new downtown street furniture

“Les amoureux se bécoteront sur de nouveaux bancs publics,” reads a headline in this morning’s Le Devoir — “Lovers will kiss on new public benches.” Michel Dallaire, the renowned industrial designer responsible for the street furniture in the Quartier international, has been commissioned by the Ville-Marie borough to design new benches, garbage cans and other pieces of street furniture for downtown Montreal. Dallaire’s design firm will receive a $25,000 contract for the designs, which will be put into place in 2009.

“We want to create a distinctive brand for the downtown area, without too much emphasis on design, because that would be too visually polluting,” Dallaire told the newspaper. “It should be functional above all, not too decorative. We’re looking to create a timeless object, without flourish.”

If you think Le Devoir’s headline is a bit odd, you should head down to the Quartier international to check out Dallaire’s designs. They’re simple, sexy and perfectly conducive to the noctural activities of les amoureux. The almost immediate success of the district’s new public spaces, including Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle and the revamped Victoria Square, is a testament to the stylish simplicty of its street furniture. With Dallaire’s talents applied to the downtown core, we should hopefully be in for a treat.

Bottom photo by Owen Rose


  1. How refreshing! Good on you Montreal for understanding what design is all about. Toronto will regret going the way of long-term contracts major advertising companies to supply their street furnishings. Dallaire’s work is elegant and wonderfully demonstrates how furnishings should behave in the public realm.

  2. It just seems so simple, so elegant and easy.
    $ 25,000 seems very low for designs that will look good and have the best interests of the City and it’s inhabitants in mind.

    Of course there is the manufacturing and installation costs but I bet overall this will be fairly reasonable given that the City will have control as to where they go and how many are installed.

    When you don’t have to pay for illuminated advertising panels or large flat surfaces that take ads I am sure the costs to make these pieces are even less.

    Too bad we are saddled with Astral Media as our design partner.
    I notice that they are still advertising all over the downtown core with their huge, illegal vinyl billboards. This was supposed to stop as part of their winning the Toronto street furniture RFP.
    What ever happened with this condition?

    And why do we have to request that they don’t hang illegal adverts all over the City in the first place?

  3. what is the smoke effects in the top photo? is that actually being released from some sort of vent in the seating area? that would be amazing if that’s the case.

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