Design hides in academia as well in Montreal and it seems it’s also doomed to be under-represented there as well.
It was my great pleasure to have a chat TODAY with Katia-Luce Mayer, responsible for the management of theMatériauthèque of the Faculty of Environmental design of the University of Montreal since 1998. An initial idea of Michel Gariépy and Colin Davidon, 2 former teachers at the Faculty, Katia was brought in to shape what has become a one of it’s kind collection of material samples and catalogues for every discipline of design in academia.
The Matériauthèque was meant to become a centre of reference that would enable students from all design departments (there are 5 in the building alone, or more than 1000 students) to have access and consult up-to-date materials information that would make their research and projects more accurate and close to what is available on the market.
In the past 8 years she has managed to grow the collection from 50 mostly out-of-date samples (one of them fated back to 1982) to an impressive yearly-updated collection of 3 to 4 000 material samples (something that could rival the elite and expensive Material Connexion from all over canada and the US as well as 500 catalogues for the companies that cannot deliver samples. European samples are rare as companies very rarely make samples available but it sometimes happens. Katia once received, to her great delight, some samples from Austria.
Well lit and airy, with a view on Cote-Ste-Catherine, this lovely space also serves as a display for some of the industrial design student projects and you can easily spend and afternoon flipping through samples in drawers and have a look at some of the chairs designed by 1st year students. Students and professionals from all over the world have visited the library throughout the years and talked to Katia about extending this model abroad. The library was also mentioned in an italian design magazine. No other university in Montreal offers a materials library of this size.
Due to budget ronstraints however, Katia’s position has been removed and the library’s “raison d’etre” is being discussed internally. The sample loans, I’m told, will be self-regulated by the students but will no longer be updated. A shame.
So if I were you, I’d hurry up and go and see this before all the samples get forgotten on student desks…