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Murmures Family Gallery

December 15, 2018 to November 17, 2019

Once upon a time... architecture

Designed by Francis Fontaine, Luca Fortin and Bertrand Rougier, Murmures proposes an introduction to the work of the architect, which is similar to artistic creation. Through four stimulating interactive areas, including a large child-height work table, play on scale, an adjustable model and a life-sized exploration area, children can learn about the language and tools of architects.

They will even be asked to imagine a pavilion to house the work by Alfred Pellan, an imaginary animal borrowed from the mini-bestiary that Pellan designed between 1972 and 1975, which sits imposingly in the garden adjacent to the space dedicated to the family at the MNBAQ. 

The three designers have created an open, comfortable space in which visitors young and old can engage in an array of experiences and explorations. Moreover, it is through play that they wanted to spark dialogue and reflection among young people about architecture. The designers will offer creation workshops to guide participating families in imagining the noteworthy construction of an outdoor pavilion in the Pellan Garden that will take shape around the imposing work of public art. They will coordinate this activity in the Family Gallery on January 3, February 3 and March 24, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The new structure, in the wake of the exhibition, will be built in the Pellan Garden in the summer of 2019. What is more, the designers will draw inspiration from the many drawings that the children produce.

Lastly, for those who are wondering, what does Murmures signify? The exhibition’s name evokes all of the walls that talk, the walls that whisper a story, the walls that are witnesses to an era, all of these walls that speak of our times and architectural trends. What a pleasure for families to explore such a meaningful theme. 

Murmures, offers four stimulating exploration spaces 

Architecture is every-where. In the home, in the school or in the museum, each buil-ding conveys a story. How do a building’s shapes appear in the mind of the architect? What is the first drawing that an archi-tect makes to design a house? With which shapes does he first play to create a museum? How has he adapted to a building’s environment? All of these questions, which are hiding behind the walls that surround us, have also sustained the reflection underpinning the organization of the space devoted to this fourth Family Gallery at the MNBAQ, which we wanted to resemble an architect’s studio. 

First area – I draw, you draw and we display our work!

In this section of the exhibition, children have available to them all of the technical drawing material to imagine and then draw a pavilion that could house Bestiaire #22, the giant, colourful creature in the Pellan Garden adjacent to the Family Gallery. By drawing inspiration from surrounding colours and shapes, they can create textures and motifs and explore the thousand and one possibilities open to them, just as architects do in their studios. Furthermore, Alfred Pellan’s original work Bestiaire #22 sits imposingly in the midst of this stimulating area. 

Once they have drawn a pavilion to house Pellan’s creature, the children are invited to display their drawings on the big wall and observe the other participants’ imaginative worlds. 

Second area – Colourful explorations

Using magnetized shapes, the children are invited to create profiles of buildings that will animate the landscape in the background. They can amuse themselves both with close-ups and wide shots. This interactive section of the exhibition will also offer toddlers shape association games.

Third area – A building takes shape

A big circular stage bearing a real model allows explorers to play with 25 coloured wooden shapes to attempt to build one or more 3D buildings. The possibilities open to them are boundless, thus affording them the prospect of hours of pleasure.

Fourth area – Live in the habitation 

The children are invited to occupy this space, observe the arrangement of giant shapes around them to imagine new creations or to relax while reading comfortably. They have access to a broad selection of books to enable them to learn more about architecture.

The designers in a nutshell

Francis Fontaine, Luca Fortin and Bertrand Rougier all hold master’s degrees in architecture from Université Laval and are developing an approach that oscillates between architectural research and agency-based architectural practice. Murmures is the trios’ first collaboration. The three designers have achieved distinction individually through exhibitions and publications. By way of an example, Luca and Francis designed installations at the Folle Foire in 2017 and Passages insolites in 2015, where their participation took first place at the Architizer A+ Awards in the United States. Bertrand has exhibited his research work at the Maison de l’architecture du Québec.

They perceive architecture as an essentially collaborative discipline and it was obvious for them to join forces to develop an exhibition inviting children to discover the world of architectural creation.