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Artist Izabelle Duguay creates two striking murals at 6600 Saint-Urbain.

Montrealers see their urban landscape transform before their eyes every fall season, the city becoming the backdrop for one of nature’s most stunning rituals. This year was no different, save for one particularly colourful exception. 

Late this fall, two striking murals emerged on the exterior walls of Canderel’s 6600 Saint-Urbain office building. As leaves on trees withered, Montréal artist Izabelle Duguay added the finishing touch to the ÉMERGENCES public artwork: a 4,980 sq.ft. burst of colour that celebrates the Montréal Mile-Ex district’s diversity and vibrancy—and one that will last well beyond the changing seasons.

The backstory: A new chapter for 6600 Saint-Urbain  

Canderel purchased the 6600 Saint-Urbain building in the second half of 2020, intending to transform this once bustling textile factory into a 21st-century workplace. One of three Canderel-operated buildings in the Mile-Ex, 6600 Saint-Urbain is located at the neighbourhood’s edge; it’s the most prominent building you see when entering the area from the south-east.  

It was clear, from the start, that the rejuvenation process for this 1960s born structure would include a celebration of Montréal’s creativity, specifically with regard to the Mile-Ex’s eclectic combination of grit, tech and artistry. Fostering dialogue with the community and contributing to the Mile-Ex’s vibrant urban fabric were also key. 

 

“There’s a symbiotic relationship between buildings and the neighbourhoods in which they’re integrated. As part of that relationship, it’s essential to us that we participate and invest in the cultural development of Montréal’s Mile-Ex district.” 

Eric Cordon, Vice-President, Development — Canderel 

Planting the seeds for an outstanding piece of public art 

In early 2021, Canderel reached out to MASSIVart to invite Montréal artists to share their vision for a large-scale public art project, using the 6600 Saint-Urbain building as their canvas. 

In all, local solo artists and art collectives submitted nearly thirty proposals. Montréal talent’s level of creativity and execution didn’t come as a surprise. It did, however, make it a challenge to narrow down the field. Canderel and MASSIVart presented the community with four finalists, inviting people to vote for the proposal they most wanted to materialize. The proposal that had the most interest and support was ÉMERGENCES, by artist Izabelle Duguay: the two interconnected art murals that make up ÉMERGENCES tap into the Mile-Ex district’s industrial past, echo its transformation and inspire collective choices for building the future. 

Photo — @bruno_destombes / Instragram

Inside the ÉMERGENCES artwork 

Multidisciplinary artist Izabelle Duguay has a knack for creating public art installations that stop people in their tracks. From city streets to the inside walls of Montréal’s Museum of Fine Arts, her often larger-than-life pieces reflect her fascination with colour, nature and scale. The sheer visual gravitas pulls people in. Yet, it’s the feeling of being simultaneously energized and soothed that people say they take away after experiencing Izabelle’s creations.

“Over time, the Mile-Ex district opened its doors to change agents carrying new ideas,” Izabelle says. “ÉMERGENCES, for me, is like an invitation to align the neighbourhood’s industrial past with a sustainable future.”  

Izabelle DuguayArtist

Steeped in contrasting styles—a reflection of the Mile-Ex district’s eclectic DNA—the ÉMERGENCES murals’ narrative unfolds in a mixture of lines, textures and forms that recall the area’s built environment, juxtaposed with unpredictable vegetation. A large fingerprint on the mural is also a reminder of humans’ impact, whose traces prevail. 

More to come 

Locals—who played an active role in shaping the final artwork—along with 6600 Saint-Urbain tenants and Mile-Ex district visitors, will all be able to enjoy ÉMERGENCES from several viewpoints; the 6600 Saint-Urbain building’s two “art walls” will serve as the backdrop for an upcoming public park set to emerge in the near future. 

“With its unique location, 6600 Saint-Urbain presented a great opportunity to express the Mile-Ex district’s vibrancy and creative nature visually. We hope in the future to find more ways to continue building on this milestone.” 

Eric Cordon, Vice-President, Development — Canderel 

ABOUT IZABELLE DUGUAY 

Izabelle Duguay holds a master’s degree in Arts Ed. from Concordia University and is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montréal. Her practice embraces painting, photography and scenography. With a bachelor’s degree in this discipline, she has always been interested in artworks’ scale, the power of colours and the connection between natural and urban forms. Izabelle has been an artist and educator at MU. In 2016, she designed and realized the mural Hommage à la collection permanente at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. 

ABOUT MASSIVart 

MASSIVart is a global art consultancy and production agency. We collaborate with emerging and established artists, architects, developers, designers and creative talent to create art-driven events, architectural design, commissioned works of art and cultural programs. We conceive creative destinations that bring people together, create emotional connections and offer authentic brand experiences. With our team of producers, art directors, curators and designers, who are consistently at the forefront of the global art and culture scene, we create exclusive content, develop impactful design and connect artists to the public while highlighting our partners and clients in innovative ways. 

ABOUT CANDEREL 

Canderel is one of Canada’s largest privately held real estate companies. It was founded over 46 years ago by Jonathan Wener and has since grown from its base in Montréal to seven offices across Canada. Canderel owns and manages a real estate portfolio of more than 27 million square feet in Canada’s seven major markets – Québec City, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Its 650 real estate professionals have executed more than $19 billion in acquisitions, developments and management projects. 

For more information on the ÉMERGENCES project at 6600 Saint-Urbain, please contact Leonardo Occhiuzzi at locchiuzzi@canderel.com.