Head in the Clouds and Heart in Montréal
What do Place Ville Marie's new observation deck, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and Habitat 67 have in common? The firm behind these signature Montréal buildings is GSM Project, whose history has been indelibly linked to that of Québec's metropolis for almost 60 years.
GSM Project keeps a low public profile. Scratch the surface, however, and the design firm’s stamp can be found all across the city. Designer Jacques Guillon, the agency’s co-founder together with Laurent Marquart and Morley Smith, created some of the Expo 67 pavilions as well as the inside of the Habitat 67 apartments.
“These three men were adventurers, and they weren’t afraid to try new things,” says Catherine Cattoen, marketing director at GSM Project.
It was also Jacques Guillon who designed the city’s first métro cars, some of which are still in use, as well as the famous rectangular blue logo with the white arrow in the center of a circle, indicating the stations in the underground transit network.
GSM Project also has proven experience in designing and staging museum exhibitions. The firm played a role in creating the Pointe-à-Callière Museum as part of the celebrations marking the city’s 350th anniversary, and it produced the travelling exhibition STAR WARS Identities, which was premiered at the Montréal Science Centre in 2012 before touring the world.
In recent years, GSM Project has carved out a niche as an observatory specialist. For example, the firm designed the observatory at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—the world's tallest skyscraper.
"The challenge with observatory projects lies in evoking the emotion of the view, without drawing it out artificially," explains Catherine Cattoen. "We want people to leave with a lasting takeaway."
Last year, GSM Project again placed its expertise in the service of Montréal by creating the Observation Deck Au Sommet Place Ville Marie, located on the tower’s 45th and 46th floors. From there, visitors can take in the panoramic view as well as a video exhibition of Montrealers telling their city’s story. In time, this project is sure to rank among the city top attractions.
Sparking innovation and creativity
GSM Project is among the 30 companies involved in the Parcours innovation PME 2017, a municipal initiative aimed at promoting the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Montréal. Participants in the program benefit from personalized services and advice meant to identify solutions to business problems, including those related to the development of internationals markets.