Home / 2015 (Page 4)

A mythical modern luxury house atop a cliff. An absolute beauty where Caribbean magic happens. The northern part of the Dominican Republic hides one of the true gems of luxury living: Casa Kimball. Out of her portfolio of amazing properties, Lauren Berger Collection selected this villa for Luxe Magazine. The house took us beyond our expectations.


Located in a gated community on the pristine north coast of the Dominican Republic, Casa Kimball stands on a cliff out of reach of common mortals. From the brand new Samana Airport, the western roads along the coast offer breathtaking vistas. Landscapes are largely untouched in this part of the island. The fine sandy beaches succeed one another all the way up to Cabrera, where the house is located.


Experiencing modern sublime

The absolutely sublime Casa Kimball overlooks the Atlantic, its beauty matching the regal expanse of the ocean. Three acres of luxuriant tropical vegetation tamed by an army of gardeners surround it. In front of the villa, an elegant infinity pool bridges the gap between sea and sky. A Jacuzzi completes the whole, at the edge of the cliff. From there nobody can see you, but you can see the world. Island living has never been made so luxurious, exclusive and delightful.



The large modern villa once belonged to one of the founders of Google. Rangr Studio conceived it for aesthetic pleasures, leisurely living and bringing people together. The architecture studio worked to create beautiful modernist lines and vast yet light geometrical volumes, then dressed them in wonderful organic materials. The three parts of the villa are oriented to capture the splendor of the outdoors. Casa Kimball combines impeccable perspective lines, elegant materials and sophisticated details.



The house is very cool for such a tropical location. The many French doors invite the wind in and a system of interweaved stones creates architectural screens against the sun. All of the design elements, inside and out, embrace a tropical climate esthetic: local woods and stones, four-poster beds draped in linen. The breeze coming up the hill from the ocean eases the heat of the day and makes the nights lovely in all of the eight rooms with their en suite modern bathrooms. All of the suites open on terraces with stunning views of the Caribbean’s luxuriant vegetation and waters.

Invitation to relaxation

A full trilingual staff makes sure all desires are fulfilled. A concierge is at the guests’ disposal to organize pick up from the airport and facilitate all activities and outings. Anything can be accommodated at home: spa services, Yoga instruction, dance classes, swimming lessons for the children. Your desires will prevail. Kindness and efficiency are always the staff’s philosophy.


When it comes to food, Casa Kimball’s chef prepares the most delicious meals based on local produce and fish. The comfortable bar lounge is typically where it all starts. The bar is the place for appetizers, coffees and drinks. Fresh juices are morning delights; cocktail hour is on a vacation schedule and the barman takes all personal music requests.


Food and drinks can be served anywhere, by the pool, in the lounge or in your room, but the attractive dining room displays an impressive custom designed table for 20. It’s just the spot for fabulous parties! The wooden ceilings and the large pivoting glass doors made of Brazilian hardwood create an elegant framework for the room, which is open on three sides. The dining room offers stunning 270-degree views of the ocean and the pool. An outdoor bar joins the pool and the indoor entertainment and media center. Sip your drink on one of its high stools while enjoying the wonders of the day!

Contemplative places

During the day, the poolside allows for full sun exposure. Nearby, the house’s breezeways offer cooling shade. The three-edged infinity pool, 156 feet long, is stunning and features a particularly enchanting detail: an elegant rectangular platform, detached from the edge and jutting out into the water, serves as a tanning island within the pool. Two long reclining chairs just fit. At night, the sleek plane of the pool becomes luminescent, very inviting for nocturnal swims and volleyball parties.



The hot bubbling Jacuzzi, below the dramatic end of the pool, is right above the cliff facing the open view of the sea. This is a particularly attractive place from which to watch the sunset. Many places at Casa Kimball compete with each other for the title of best spot for contemplation. The roof terrace, a simple minimalist platform, offers a mythical modernist lookout over the Atlantic. With its low edges, the terrace is just barely separated from the expansive open view. Its spareness inspires peace.



The cliff path to one of the three private beaches also leads to a hidden terrace carved out of the rocks. This is the house’s most private terrace. The sun seems to salute you alone on its way up or down. The ideal place to meditate, it is also a testimony to the philosophy embodied by the house: always getting you closer to the magic of the world.


There is something to be treasured about a villa that can offer such heightened connections to the elements. Casa Kimball succeeds in preserving moments where architecture and the world merge to manifest essential beauty and peace.


Text: Barbara Stehle

It has chic villas, three world-class golf courses, boutiques, a marina, a spa, a cultural village and, of course, the Caribbean at its feet. The Casa de Campo resort, at La Romana on the Dominican Republic’s south-eastern coast, has been around for forty years but it doesn’t show any signs of aging!


The immense private estate (7,000 acres) is there to discover… little by little. Casa de Campo was born in the head (or the heart) of Alvaro Carta, owner of a Puerto Rican sugarcane firm and of the parent company behind American cinematic giant Paramount Pictures. He already owned a sugar mill at La Romana, and nearby he found an untouched shoreline on which to build the most all-inclusive of all-inclusive resorts.

Country or Seaside Villas

Casa de Campo’s rental villas are the stars of the resort! They are all different, except for different numbers of bedrooms (ranging from three to seven) and for the indispensable pool. Décor varies. Some are real country houses, like the very colonial Villa del Campo, the warm and very contemporary Villa los Triangulos or the four magnificent waterfront residences, and all are truly private. Blended families or intergenerational vacationers will want to consider the option of renting a villa. Children, parents and grandparents can all find their own space, as well as their own outside activities.


Of course, couples or small families will probably find that a room at the hotel or the warm, elegant golf lodge is a better fit.


World-class Golf Courses and Marina

In fact, Casa de Campo has not one but three golf courses, including Teeth of the Dog. Designed by architecte Pete Dye, it is ranked number one in the Caribbean and 47th in the world by Golf Magazine. The marina’s design is inspired by old Mediterranean villages, but it’s outfitted with the newest technologies and trends in pleasure boating. The sailing school has a reputation for excellence, and if you stay in one of the 105 marina apartments or villas it’s right at your doorstep. Nearby you’ll find a number of restaurants where you can have a great Spanish or Asian meal in a “marine” atmosphere.


Sports and Fitness

The resort doesn’t just have a spa specializing in treatments using local products, like sugar cane or coffee, but it offers all the possible watersports, like deep-sea diving, free-diving, fishing, kayaking… Casa de Campo has a shooting club, a tennis club known as the Wimbledon of the Caribbean, and an original polo and equestrian centre. Created by an Indian maharajah, it’s one of the most popular clubs in the Caribbean, with matches nearly every week!


Art and Culture

It’s fairly uncommon to find a real cultural village inside a resort, especially one of this quality! With its picturesque streets and its church, Altos de Chavon is a neighbourhood out of time, like a replica of a village from the Middle Ages on the shores of the Mediterranean.


Surrounded by the scent of bougainvillea, you can stroll to the museum (which offers children’s activities), stopping at the shops of local potters or the workshops of resident artists for a chat. And of course there are nearly a dozen boutiques and, above all, the magnificent Greek-style outdoor amphitheatre used for major shows. It was inaugurated by none other than Frank Sinatra and seats 5,000.


And let’s not forget the showpiece of the whole resort: the beach! There are a number of splendid, isolated beaches to discover at Casa de Campo. A new adventure every day!


1410, rue Stanley, Bureau 409
Montréal, QC H3A 1P8
514 284-3366


Text: Anne Pélouas

Westmount, a charming little city in the very heart of the Island of Montréal, mere steps from downtown, lies on the western flank of Mount Royal. This mainly Anglophone city of over 20,000 residents still has the wealthiest population in the country. LUXE takes you on a tour of the community formerly known as La Petite Montagne. 

A bit of history

When the downtown began to expand into the Golden Square Mile, Montréal’s former upper-crust neighbourhood, Westmount started to transform into the posh bedroom community we know today. From the Victorian gingerbread trim on its row houses to the splendid architecture of the larger estates (ex-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney bought a house there for two million dollars) lining its winding, shady streets, most of Westmount’s development took place between 1910 and 1930. Architect Robert Findlay designed a number of landmark buildings during this period, such as the library, City Hall and a number of other public buildings, all in the typical English national neo-Tudorstyle. Strolling through Westmount is like taking a magic portal to Great Britain. Along with the luxurious residences we find smaller houses and condominiums that have attracted large numbers of middle-class residents and families, Anglophones as well as Francophones.

A garden city

The City of Westmount’s heritage is not defined solely by its distinctive architecture. Nature is there in all its glory, notably in the unspoiled woodlands on the top of the hill, to remind us of what the site used to look like. Westmount was originally covered by forests and occupied by Aboriginal peoples, as witnessed by the traces of a former cemetery found on the mountaintop. Westmount, known at the time as the Village of Côte-Saint-Antoine, was for a long time a rural village and home to the Décarie, Hurtubise and Leclerc families, among others. Over time it flourished into a city where urban convenience, a country atmosphere and the community values shared by all of its residents coexist.


Today it is home to an urban forest, numerous parks (the loveliest of which is certainly Westmount Park) and playing fields, a bird sanctuary and a lookout with a breathtaking view. With its 11,000 trees and innumerable manicured lawns and gardens, Westmount’s greenery is by no means confined to its public green spaces. It also has a brand-new sports complex housing two underground skating rinks and a magnificent swimming pool.


In short, Westmount is a true jewel set in the heart of the metropolis. It offers an exemplary quality of life and its wealth is measured not by the size of some of its estates but rather by the spirit of its community.

Greene Avenue

Greene Avenue, an essential stop for anyone who wants to tour Westmount and take a pleasant stroll, is the city’s commercial artery. This quintessentially English-Canadian street is lined with attractive boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and bookstores. How can anyone resist the treasures in La cache, home to the cutest of tablecloths, dishtowels and table accessories? And what can you say about the Oink Oink toy store and Coral jewellery store, places whose magical atmospheres, a thousand leagues from your typical mega-department store, immediately conquer our heart? Between visits to boutiques you can raise a glass on the patio of Taverne sur le Square.


Hurtubise House

Hurtubise House, built in 1739 and located at 561 Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Antoine, is the oldest house in Westmount. It is the sole survivor of the farms built on La Petite Montagne in the early 18th century. It has changed very little since it was built. Inside, the old partitions with low doors are intact and the interior woodwork is attached with hand-forged nails.


Westmount Square

Westmount Square is a multifunctional complex consisting of four buildings in the heart of Westmount. Designed by American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, it is made up of two residential towers, two office buildings and a shopping centre, all connected to Place Alexis Nihon through a tunnel.

Westmount Park

Westmount Park is a 26-acre multi-purpose space with fields that provide the illusion of the countryside in the middle of the city. A walk through this green space takes you to unexpected oases of tranquillity beside its ponds, trees and small waterfall.


The park’s greenhouses regularly play host to floral exhibits and the gallery in the Victoria Hall, a former performance venue erected in 1924, houses exhibits by local artists. The Westmount Library, located in the park, was the first municipal library in Québec. Its frescos and stained glass are worth the side trip.


Text: Diane Stehle
Photos: Ville de Westmount

Designed by the Jadco Group, Québec’s gold standard in prestige real estate, and decorated by renowned design firm Andres Escobar et associés, Quintessence’s penthouses and signature condominiums offer exceptional living in a sumptuous environment in Laval, near the main arterues to downtown Montréal and the Laurentians. LUXE takes you on a voyage of discovery to one of these prestigious sites.



Nestled in one of the three buildings making up the Quintessence residential complex, this 11-room, 2,361 square foot apartment includes 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and reflects a modern, sophisticated lifestyle. Its clean lines, muted decoration, contemporary furniture and omnipresent white show off the owners’ reliance on chic simplicity to create their own relaxing universe for today’s living.


As soon as you cross the threshold, you are struck by the amount of light that enters the living room, kitchen and open plan dining room through the huge windows. Nine-foot ceilings also make the space larger. In the background, the city and its surroundings stretch as far as the eye can see in a breathtaking panorama. Noble materials like the stones in the mantel and the hardwood floor lend their own cachet to the vast living space. On the walls, carefully chosen works of art add spots of attractive colour, personality and warmth.


The modern ultra-functional kitchen features custom furniture and wooden cabinets. The island with its quartz countertop is a convenient place to prepare meals, while the multiple storage spaces with self-closing drawers make daily life much easier to organize.



The grey-and-white-toned bedrooms have the same quiet atmosphere as the living spaces. Each has an adjoining bathroom equipped with a magnificent glass-walled shower and contemporary square bathtub. The master bedroom has a large walk-incloset and a small sitting area, the ideal place to read at bedtime. In the summer, the owners enjoy breakfast on their broad terrace while taking in an unbeatable view of the city.


Magnificent landscaping

The Quintessence style expresses itself both indoors, in a condominium like this one that marries design with timeless elegance, and outdoors, in the magnificently landscaped central courtyard.All year round,residentscan take advantage of a fitness centre, private spa, guest suite and reception area. Once the nice weather arrives, the heated outdoor pool surrounded by private cabanas is an incomparable oasis of relaxation.


Naturally, an electronic access control system ensures maximum security. Travelers to Florida or abroad can leave with a tranquil mindbecause security staff are on duty 24/7. A number of businesses (café, bistro, bakery, delicatessen, cleaner), international-class boutiques and fine restaurants complete the enchanting surroundings. The construction of two commercial buildings will put the crowning touch on this five-phase project.


The luxury condos making up the first two phases have all been taken and half of those in the third phase are already sold. In other words, buyers have recognized that Quintessence is a unique, innovative project that is redefining luxury in Laval and on the North Shore.

Sales Office

3730 Saint-Elzéar Boulevard West, Laval

QC H7P 4J5

Monday to Friday 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

1 855 5LIVING

When restaurant specialists partnered with personalities from Montréal nightlife, they created two ultra trendy restaurants that are rapidly making a place for themselves in the hearts of gourmets. Welcome Flyjin and Jatoba!

Flyjin: two restaurants in one

A dynamic team, a very talented chef, a chic, mysterious location and a hellish atmosphere: these are the ingredients one needs to set the standard for gastronomy and entertainment in Montréal. Nicolas Urli (Restaurant Hà, Jatoba), Alexandre Brosseau (Le Sous-Bois), Marco Benatar (Jatoba), Alexandre Besnard and Patrick Hétu (A5 Management) understood the concept perfectly when they created Flyjin two years ago.


Nestled in a basement in the heart of Old Montréal, this magnificent Asian venue is designed with a unique two-for-one concept: on the one hand you have a restaurant-bar with Asian influences, on the other a festive night club with excellent DJs. The stroke of genius is that neither one sacrifices anything to the other. The menu, from famous chef Antonio Park, melds creativity and originality into subtle flavours. On the stroke of midnight, furniture, lighting, music and even staff undergo a metamorphosis, giving way to a dance floor to welcome night owls. Suddenly we understand why Flyjin’s motto is: Things are not what they seem…



Those who, like Guy Laliberté or Hugh Grant, like to celebrate in an incomparable atmosphere, certainly won’t be missing any of the special events. The next ones are during the Grand Prix on June 5, 6 and 7. Reservations are a must!


1184 Phillips Place, Montréal
514 871-1184


Jatoba: an incomparable gastronomic experience

After the success of Flyjin, the business partners decided to maintain their momentum by opening Jatoba this past January. Located in the former Phillips Lounge in the heart of downtown, this establishment is dedicated to a culinary experience with a Japanese influence. Whether for a business lunch or a late supper with friends, chef Olivier Vigneault imagines extraordinarily refined dishes. This young man, who used to be the co-owner of Yuzu in Québec City, executive chef at Marabout and Miso and chef at Kaizen and Park, is once again proving that he has amazing talent. The menu includes dumplings, albacore or beef tataki, black cod, seafood and other reinvented dishes.


Comfortably installed on the patio under the skyscrapers or seated in the huge dining room with its warm and sophisticated décor, you’ll experience a moment of pure pleasure.



Flyjin and Jatoba both have multifunctional rooms that are large enough for groups at corporate or other special events.


417 St Pierre Street, Montréal
514 564-8881


Text: Diane Stehle

Located in the heart of Griffintown, Le Richmond has become an essential gastronomic destination for anyone who loves reinvented refined Italian cuisine. Its two visionary owners, Paul Soucie and Luc Laroche, are in the process of adding a unique deluxe grocery store.


As soon as we cross the threshold, Le Richmond welcomes us into a sumptuous theatrical décor that uses period materials in contemporary ways and hints at the extraordinary experienceto come. On top of its exquisite food, the restaurant provides every visitor with the type of experience only available in chic boutique hotels. Unmatched customer service, urbane ambiance, Louis XV chairs and U-shaped central bar: the owners have designed even the smallest details to transform a simple meal into a magical moment.


Paul Soucie and Luc Laroche have been friends since they were four years old. After being co-owners of the legendary Misto restaurant on Mont-Royal Avenue, they melded their respective talents in 2013 to found Le Richmond. Paul, the executive chef, has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant business. He oversees the menu and management of the kitchens, and Luc, the CFO and marketing manager, looks after designing the space and developing the Groupe Richmond’s brand.


“Le Richmond’s menu is inspired by northern Italian cuisine. We focus on fresh ingredients and local seasonal products. We also privately import specialty products from small producers in Italy,” Paul Soucie explained. “Seafood, filet mignon with foie gras and black truffles, and prime rib aged for forty days are some of our specialties, along with dishes designed for sharing,” he added. The desserts, concocted by our pastry chef, are worth stopping in for: classics reinvented with the addition of unexpected ingredients like fennel and squash. “The Maple Brunches we serve on Sundays in March are also very popular,” the co-owner said in conclusion.

A true SME serving major projects

A former industrial space above the restaurant houses the corporate offices of a veritable business. Le Richmond presently has a team of fifteen employees who organize prestigious events every year, including the most sought-after glamour evening of Grand Prix weekend, sponsored by Luxury Retreats.


Last year the luxury travel agent, which is associated with top-of-the-line champagne brand Dom Pérignon, had an Amazon on a magnificent white horse to bid its select guest list welcome. Inside the restaurant, an immense ice sculpture holding a mountain of seafood reigned over the middle of the room, while waitresses dressed for the occasion by a renowned stylist bustled around serving guests.


“To improve access to the restaurant, we set up a 200-vehicle parking lot just for the occasion,” recalls Luc Laroche, to show the lengths to which his team’s energy will take them. This year’s soirée, given how enthusiastic the organizers are, should have everybody talking.


Italian market opening soon

Their innate sense of innovation and branding has led Le Richmond’s owners to add a high-end grocery store. The 6,000-square foot market beside the restaurant is scheduled to open in late May and will offer fine produce, cheese, deli meats and take-out meals. “Clients will be able to savour antipasti and sip a glass of wine in the bistro, buy groceries or purchase ready-to-serve meals.” A drive-through will allow them to buy take-out meals without getting out of their vehicles.


Businesses will not be forgotten, a phase 3 is on its way: the Le Richmond version of a catering company, complementing the other corporate services already available at the restaurant. For cocktail parties or other events, Le Richmond already hosts groups in its magnificent mezzanine for a select apéritif followed by a three- or four-course meal.


It looks like it’s going to be a good spring for the company, which will have over one hundred employees once the market opens. Considering its owners’ talents, this new project is sure to be a success!


Le Richmond
377, rue Richmond
514 508-8749


Text: Diane Stehle

Jennifer, how did you get into the world of beauty? What has been your journey?

I’ve been working in the industry for over twenty years. I’m a trainedestheticianand I started out teaching esthetics at the trade school level.I wanted to change the world (laughing), especially the perception of esthetics in Québec. I wanted to give it more class by improving the level of education and knowledge and including a holistic dimension. I worked very hard to try to modernize the curriculum and bring it to a higher, more complete level.

How did you develop MAX LED technologies?

After my time as a teacher, I decided to start my own business in 2003, with my husband. I’ve always been passionate about the potential benefits of light. I was convinced that you could care for and treat skin, and especially skin problems, with different spectra and wavelengths of light. My own skin is very reactive and sensitive, so I love to deal with problems like rosacea and acne and treat severe burn victims. These cases touch me deeply and I have a strong desire to help people suffering from this type of problem. On a trip to Germany I was lucky enough to meet a photodermatologist who used a laser composed of several wavelengths of light to treat different anomalies. We talked a lot …


When I got home, I started thinking about a device, a technology, that would use all the benefits of the sun without the harmful effects, with all the colour spectra of the rainbow. My husband, who is an engineer, said, “Tell me exactly what you want and I’ll design it.” That’s where MAX LED technologies came from!

You’ve won various awards and received prestigious nominations. Can you tell us about them?

I’ll never forget our first trade show in Orlando, Florida, in 2003, where we won two awards: Most informative booth and Most innovative booth (IECSC). Then, in 2004, we won the Québec Entrepreneurship Competition – Grand prize in the Technological and Technical Innovations category. Then in 2005, at the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa in Paris, we won the H. Pierantoni Prize for Best Innovation. In 2012, I was nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award and, in 2013, for the F100 Best Women Entrepreneurs in Canada.


Since then we’ve had an excellent reputation internationally, including in the United States, where I spend a lot of time. We’re now in over forty countries around the world, and soon we’ll be in eighty.

So your business is really “Made in Québec”? How many employees do you have?

Totally! We have fifteen employees and three divisions: Sisu Innovations (MAX LED), Bella Clinique and JB Skin Consultations.

Tell me about the technology and its benefits. It’s not a laser?

No, it isn’t a laser. I absolutely wanted to develop something that was 100% safe for all ages and skin types (especially reactive and problem skin), all ethnic groups and all phototypes, from very pale to very dark. The technology isn’t ionizing, so it’s very safe and non mutagenic. MAX LED was the first technology to provide multiple spectra to treat the skin in depth. Visible results include increased skin vitality, skin that looks healthier and younger, soothing general redness and acne, and decreases in fine lines wrinkles and photoaging.

How many treatments does it take to see results? Do they last?

Often, you see results after just one treatment. The skin is already clearer, more even and more beautiful. For me the first treatment is always the “discovery” treatment where I see what state the skin is in. One effect of our treatment is to stimulate production of natural collagen, so the beneficial effects can last up to nine months. For optimal effects, we six treatments for scientifically proven cumulative benefits and then single treatments when needed. For acne, for example, the ideal is twelve treatments.

What’s different about MAX LED technologies?

It’s a holistic approach to beauty. Because of my experience in integral esthetics, I see the skin as a whole. It’s a vital organ, the largest of all, and I am very concerned first for the person. Skin reflects what is going on inside a person. That’s why I ask lots of questions about my clients’ lifestyles, like their diet, their recreational activities, their moods, etc. It’s of prime importance for me to take all this into account and to care for them as a whole.


How did you become the “Skin Guru” to the Hollywood stars?

During my travels and speaking engagements, I met a dermatologist from Beverly Hills and “the rest is history”, as they say! After I explained what makes our technology different, I left him a machine for a two-week trial. He called me three days later to say that he wanted to buy it right away! My clientele includes internationally famous celebrities, VIPs and politicians. That being said, I also have a very diversified clientele.

What is your greatest success?

Apart from professional recognition and the awards we’ve won over the years, it’s the final results and their quality that I’m most proud of. The stories of my clients, especially those who had major problems and that I managed to treat, touch me deeply. When a client tells me that I’ve changed her life in a drastically positive way, I’m very proud and, especially, very honoured. For example, I treat women who’ve been treated for breast cancer and whose skin is damaged. The results after treatments with MAX LED technologies are extraordinary, and even physicians are surprised by the quality of the skin.

What does beauty mean to you?

For me, beauty is a whole. It is the reflection of a number of factors and is far more than just physical. True beauty reflects a state of grace, wellness and peace.

With your expertise, what advice would you give women?

To be authentic, to be themselves, to not compare themselves to anyone else. We need to show solidarity and to avoid judging and criticizing ourselves and others. To find solutions and to act instead of complaining. Most of all, to follow their passions, to dare and to achieve their dreams.

Jennifer, you speak all over the world. I want to emphasize the extent of your work, your leadership and your contribution to the world of beauty and du wellness. It’s high time for Québec to discover you and make you a prophet in your own country!

Thank you. I have exceptional clients in Québec. I’ve also been lucky that journalists, beauty editors and celebrities from here speak well of me and of our treatments. Also, I’ll be speaking for the first time in Montréal at Esthétique Spa International this September.


The first time and very certainly not the last. A huge thanks to Jennifer for this interview, and keep up the good work!


Text: Nadia Sofia Segato

Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia,the Middle East: painter Sylvain Tremblay has exhibited his work on almost every continent. Since 2012, although based in Dubai,where he teaches the history of modern art at the Canadian University, he lives and works between Beijing and Montréal. Meet an internationally successful Québec artist.


His paintings of tapered, almost sculptural silhouettes on a bright background are immediately recognizable. “I play with relief to suggest that the person is stepping out from the environment of the painting. The mirror effect caused by the varnish makes the spectator into an integral part of the picture,” Sylvain Tremblay said.


Inspired by Antoni Tàpies, the artist includes various elements like cement,metal, sand or electricalcables.“I work with materials that represent my location. Since I spend several months of the year in Dubai, I use a lot of sand and black pigments that refer to the desert and to oil,” he explained.


The painter is also allows influenced by the culture of the countries he visits. Thus in 2010, after two years in China, he became enamoured of calligraphy and briefly abandoned painting figures for abstract art. Sylvain even took a course with a renowned master to learn this ancestral technique. It had a direct effect on his work. “Chinese who practice calligraphy repeat the same gesture a multitude of times. When the gesture becomes automatic, thought becomes part of the gesture. I used to start a figure and then add colour. Now, I start with the general movement and then add the figure.”

From Illustration to Painting

Sylvain has always had a passion for painting. When he was seven his grandmother, to whom he was very close and who had obviously seen him as a worthy inheritor of her artistic sensibility, left him her paint brushes, tubes of paint and books about painting. The little boy already dreamed of becoming a great painter, and like his grandmother he taught himself from books. He had his first exhibit at 16, in a bank. Next he studied graphic design. “I didn’t think you could make a living from painting,” he explained. For a number of years he worked as an illustrator but spent all his spare time on his passion. Then his dream caught up with him in 2002. A company contacted him and asked him to create a 3D jigsaw puzzle. Several thousand copies were sold. A few months later, Rogers Telecommunications asked him to design a character for the brand 7Up. This was also an immediate success, and at 34 Sylvain finally had the means to devote himself entirely to painting.


He was very rapidly noticed in a number of international competitions, including the sixth Contemporary Art Fair in Zurich, in 2004, where he won first prize. In 2005 he participated in the second Beijing International Art Biennale and exhibited his paintings in well-known galleries in Canada, Europe and the United States. It was the start of an international career.

A Peripatetic Painter

Although deeply attached to Québec, Sylvain has always loved to travel. In 2010, while visiting Shanghai for the Universal Exposition where he was exhibiting a painting, he was immediately seduced by the country’s energy. “There was a renewal in art history going on, and I wanted a front-row seat.” That’s all he needed to want to move there. The adventure lasted two years. Shortly after he returned to Montréal in 2012, the Canadian University in Dubai invited him to the city for three months to produce a painting. This collaboration is still going on. “I give one theory course and one practical course two days a week. I’ve gone from 6 to 240 students and I’ve had to train 4 professors! It’s really very inspiring.”


The rest of the time, Sylvain does research in his workshop and participates in live painting projects such as the 2014 Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Art Hub in Abu Dhabi and the launch of the new Ferrari California T. Most important of all, last May he created the event by painting a giant portrait of Sheikh Zayed. It’s an oversized project as befits a country where the maddest, most oversized initiatives come true.


This summer, his Arabian adventure will be over, but the painter is already dreaming of another destination and of many other projects. To be continued.


Text: Diane Stehle