Home / 2020 / February (Page 2)

Printemps Haussmann stores in Paris, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai, Nobu Downtown in New York, Four Seasons hotels in Las Vegas and, more recently, in Montreal: in all four corners of the world, luxury establishments are devouring her work. It must be said that in her 20-year career, Pascale Girardin has developed a unique style. Whether it be installations, works of art embedded in architecture, tableware or art objects, her signature aesthetic is immediately recognizable. She welcomed LUXE at her workshop in the Rosemont neighborhood.



With a welcoming and serene face, Girardin welcomes us this morning in her bright studio of 4000 square feet. Around her, her “brigade,” a team of seven ceramic artists, whose average age (which includes his son Wolfe) must be around twenty-five. “Although I offer my vision to my team while carrying out a project, unlike a chef, I remain open to suggestions. Our exchanges enrich me and allow me to evolve my practice.” Communicate, exchange, evolve. Three notions she will come back to often during our meeting and which seem to be the crux of her outlook to life as well as her profession.


Saks Fifth Avenue, New York


Moreover, after twenty-five years in her field, in full command of her artistic ability, Girardin decided one year ago to return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in visual arts at UQAM. “I needed to think about the creative process, about the relationship to material in our journey of self-discovery. Often, we are pulled in one way, but we learn that how it turns out is not always what we initially had in mind.”


To be open to discovery and to the unexpected is what Girardin quickly learned while working with clay, because it clay can be very capricious: “We must accept that material teaches us rather than trying to control it. I’m developing my skill with the total humility of a beginner, and the more I know, the less I know. But that’s what is wonderful and motivates me to continue! I always say to my customers: ‘It should work,’ but I can never be completely sure,” she explains.

Having studied biology before her formation as a visual and plastic artist, Girardin spent long hours developing the chemical formula that would allow her to obtain the color and the product she imagines. But a host of obstacles can arise in the creation of a ceramic piece: it can explode in the oven, sink, distort, split. You have to be ready to recover from these failures quickly. “In this business, we cannot cry about the past, about all the lost hours. We start again and our thoughts change,” says Girardin.


West Edmonton Mail

Reverie and Zen Buddhism

According to Zen Buddhism, when one abandons her conception of what a thing is supposed to be, she can appreciate it for what it is. This is the philosophy that Girardin has adopted full-heartedly. Rather than discarding imperfect works, she places them on a shelf in her studio and waits. “After days, weeks and even months of gestation, I’ll make new connections to the piece and one such connection finally reveals itself as the one that should be pursued.” That is how her totem series was born.


Letting go, letting her mind get lost in reverie, that is the artist’s personal mantra. Her blog is also regularly part of these “drift,” that is to say, her wandering artistic vagabond thoughts that can evolve and lead to an idea. Fascinated by scholarly works, she found echoes of her research in those of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, who himself was very interested in the role of reverie in creation. From an artistic point of view, she has Japanese sources of inspiration, especially ceramics from the Edo period, known for its minimalist and abstract aesthetics. The current generation, whom she is surrounded by daily in her studio—as well as the School of Visual and Media Arts at UQAM where she teaches—is also a powerful springboard for renewal.


In addition to her upcoming orders for Saks Fifth Avenue, the Las Vegas Convention Center and luxury cruise ships, Girardin is planning an exhibition for May 2020 that will combine ceramics, floor installation and video projections. The exhibit will be an opportunity for her to share the fruits of her labour, including her reflection on the link between all of these different mediums, as veritable true “communicating vessels.” An occasion not to be missed.


Nobu Downtown, New York


Text: Diane Stehle

Photos : © Stephany Hildebrand

After exploring many avenues throughout his lifetime, Robert Rahal took a step back to gain perspective on what it all meant. Leaving a more conventional professional life in the balance, Rahal decided to pursue his passion and tap into the artist within. It was merely 5 years ago that Rahal first touched brush to canvas, but it’s safe to say that the paintbrush has not stopped stroking ever since. Expressing his inner thoughts and feelings in circular form, Rahal’s art is born from an attempt to find freedom within the boundaries of his own inner world.


Abstract Expressionism

Producing art that expresses the primal life qualities is what gives essence to Robert Rahal’s work. Through abstract expressionism, he portrays his non-conformity as well as his affinity toward freedom with each perfectly manipulated brushstroke. “When I paint it makes me feel good. Manipulating the paintbrush and feeling it glide across the canvas is where I take solace,” Rahal describes. The refined lines alongside absolute symmetry exposes Rahal’s anxiety and feelings about maintaining control. In juxtaposition, the colours he plays with offer a sense of playfulness and carefree attitude. “My life is the canvas, the outer edges. It’s controlled and provides boundaries,” Rahal explains. “The circle is me, it shows how unfree I feel, but the colour is where I can push myself out of that comfort zone.”


Representation and Life

Appreciating art for art’s sake is to understand the process of creation in the first place. The dynamism and movement behind painting in circular motion is the emotion that can be felt when standing before one of Rahal’s paintings. The intention behind each stroke emanates from the 3-dimensional pieces, and for anyone who has seen one of his paintings in person, it’s hard to deny the visceral feeling that is brought on as a viewer. “Abstract expressionism is gestural and filled with spontaneous emotion. My paintings are actions and they are created with movement,” Rahal explains. “Hopefully they make people feel something, because I feel something when I make them.” Whether it is an organic colour combination or a beyond perfect circular shape symmetrically centered and evenly designed, Rahal’s pieces represent him and his view of the world as he perceives it. In turn, it begs the viewer to question his or her own place in the world.


Finding Success in Today’s Art World

Reconciling the life of an artist with the reality of making a living, every artist in this day and age must be his or her own entrepreneur. Only a few have been as fortunate as Rahal as to find success so early on as an artist. “I’ve never gone out and hustled my art,” Rahal explains. “Of course, I put myself out there and I’ve had vernissages, but I’ve been in a privileged position in terms of success as an emerging artist.” Rahal has sold pieces at Context Art during Art Basel week in Miami and his art is currently brokered in Boston. Rahal also has local representation and was recently commissioned to create an original piece of art for Raise Your Glass: A Backyard Concert in October 2019 in the Pacific Palisades, benefiting UCLA Health & Teen Cancer America. His piece was an official auction item and was signed by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, of the legendary rock band The Who.


Inspiration Can be Found Everywhere

“The way I approach my art is quite organic. I never have a plan, I just choose a colour and go from there; it’s a lucid experience.” Rahal can stand in a museum for hours in front of a painting, not to contemplate the work itself, but to examine the process by which it was created. “I’m fascinated by the movement in Jackson Pollock’s work. His freedom of expression can be found in paint splatterings and it makes me tingle.” Aspiring to let himself go even more so as to appreciate the possibility of imperfection, Rahal approaches his work with steadfast hands. Committed to creating art as an exploration of both life and what it all means—a very existential plight—, he’s learned that the process is a never-ending experience that is constantly evolving. “I used to have a preconceived notion of what art is supposed to be, but I have discovered that it’s a feeling and I’ve learned to trust my process, because we are all in process after all.”


Text: Alecs Kakon

Photos: © Andrew Nowacki

Excitement was in the air on September 26th at the Quartier des Spectacles: Devimco Immobilier, in partnership with Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and Fiera Properties, broke ground on their project Maestria Condominiums. This will be the largest residential project ever built in Montreal and will provide future residents with a spectacular vantage point on Montreal’s artistic and cultural life.


In the heart of the metropolis’ Quartier des Spectacles, on the site of the mythical Spectrum de Montreal, Maestria Condominiums provides all culture and art lovers with the ideal location for enjoying all the city’s activities. Developed by renowned firm Lemay, the project’s architecture is itself a nod to the Quartier des Spectacles. The two asymmetrical towers of 57 and 61 floors respectively evoke a symphony through fluidity and movement. In addition, the towers of the über-luxurious apartment complex will be linked by the highest residential aerial skyway across two floors in Quebec, offering breathtaking 360-degree views of the Place des Festivals.


Inspired by the arts, beauty and creativity, Maestria Condominiums draws its architectural essence from the proportions of the golden ratio, a symbol of the ideal that makes it possible to attain ultimate harmony. An incredible promotional video was also launched at the same time as the second phase of the project, referencing Leonardo de Vinci’s famous Vitruvian Man and celebrating the magic of the arts. A first in the real estate market in Quebec.



“This creation embodies the emotional and sensational effect of art, whether it’s through dance, singing, music, visual arts or writing. Our goal was to personify these different forms of art by demonstrating that the residents of Maestria Condominiums will be an integral part of this artistic sector of Montreal,” explains Marco Fontaine, Vice-President of Devimco Immobilier Real Estate Development, Residential and Marketing sectors. The video will be projected continuously in the sales office and will be visible to passersby on Sainte-Catherine Street West.


Dining room


Outdoor pool

A Unique Living Environment

Targeting LEED certification, the project will incorporate best practices in sustainable development and eco-responsibility. Green spaces, a commercial centre, multiple relaxation areas, sports facilities: Maestria Condominiums residents will enjoy a refined living space with over 40,000 square feet of common space.


In addition, a public area featuring signature restaurants, entertainment venues, local shops and services, as well as a business centre will be accessible to all.

While 75% of the 438 condos in the first tower sold out in just a few months, project partners took advantage of the ground breaking ceremony to officially announce the sale of the second tower, which will include 611 condominiums and 340 rental units. Will you be one of the lucky few?


  • 1,750 residential 300- to 2,200- ft. units
  • 40,000 sq. ft. of common space
  • Green space promoting urban biodiversity
  • Public area accessible to all
  • Fitness room, spa, indoor and outdoor pools
  • Two sky lounges with terraces on the 26th and 27th floors
  • Piano lounge and creative spaces
  • Game room and virtual golf room
  • Dining room, film screening room, library and business centre
  • Spacious lobby
  • Indoor parking
  • 50,000 sq. ft. commercial centre


Text: Diane Stehle

Photos: © Devimco Immobilier

From its restaurants and parks to movie theatres, delicatessens and shops, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie is burgeoning with activity. Le Castor des Érables is located on des Érables Street, near the dynamic Beaubien Street and in the vicinity of Molson Park. Collaboratively created by renowned real-estate developer Parkhouse and L. McComber – Living architecture, this new housing project is comprised of three cozy, luxurious townhouses built to the highest standards.


Discreetly hidden behind a heritage façade which reflects the neighborhood’s authentic character, Le Castor des Érables comprises spacious, high-end living spaces with abundant natural light.


“Renowned for his spot-on interventions and remarkable context awareness, Laurent McComber, founder of L. McComber – Living architecture, successfully created an element of surprise behind the building’s heritage façade. His final product includes three unique, brilliantly designed units that offer a nod to the past without compromising thoughtful execution,” says Martin Durocher, senior partner and contractor for Parkhouse.


Every component was carefully thought out, including the backyard, closed garage, abundant windows, maple floors, polished concrete heated floors, trendy bathroom and fully equipped kitchen outfitted with quartz countertops. All three units—the Cottage (already sold), the Split Level and the Penthouse—boast ceilings measuring up to 14 feet. These and the wide windows create a sense of space and healthy living. The exterior was just as carefully designed. Each unit includes a terrace measuring from 306 to 560 square feet—best way to take advantage of those warm, sunny days. Owners also get access to a closed garage and private entrance.


Since 2009, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie has ranked amongst the best neighborhoods for real-estate investments. Seize this opportunity to own a unique home in this wonderful neighborhood before it’s too late!


The Penthouse

  • First floor and mezzanine
  • Area: 2,498 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Parking spaces: 1
  • Starting at $1,299,000



The Split Level

  • Basement and first floor
  • Area: 3,173 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Parking spaces: 1
  • Starting at $1,399,000


Text: Diane Stehle

Photos: © Parkhouse / Bardagi

Autumn makes us want to cozy up and prepare delicious and aromatic dishes that waft throughout the house…


Let the Mask Come off

“This book is the story of my lies. It is undoubtedly the riskiest work I’ll ever produce.” For a few years now, Alexandre Jardin has gone on a journey of becoming authentic. This novel is the culmination of his process. The author of Fanfanreveals thirty years of imposture, both in his personal life as in his novels. A confession of honesty, this book is a powerful reflection on the power of literature, its ability to falsify reality, but also profess the truth of he who embraces that reality full body and soul.


Le roman vrai d’Alexandre, d’Alexandre Jardin – Éd. de l’Observatoire


A Spark of Light

Who is this father who decides one day to take hostage the staff and patients of a clinic specialized in abortions? Through the fate of a host of characters, Jodi Picoult takes advantage of this nightmarish day to intelligently address the issue of abortion, while also exploring ethnic and cultural diversity, homosexuality and freedom. With finesse, the author of Small Great Things continues her exploration of taboos in America.


A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult   ̶ Ballantine books


A Romantic Fable

On the island where Samuel lives, men obey their wives. Beware of the one who tries to be emancipated, because armed vigils monitor the streets. Married, he must satisfy the wishes of his Madame and be quiet. What becomes of an easily dispensable man in a world where women dominate all spheres of society? With all the finesse and fearlessness that characterize his work, the author of L’orangeraie gives us a fictional fable that undermines our prejudices and asks the burning question about power relations between the sexes.


Le deuxième mari de Larry Tremblay   ̶Éd. Alto


Beautiful Books

Eat Well and Get Moving

Alexandra Diaz, journalist, host and co-author of the bestselling Famille futée cookbooks comes back to us this time with over 100 delicious and festive recipes. With a break from your routine brunch and lunch options, Diaz offers punchy tacos, colourful salads and spectacular sandwiches. All dishes have the sports nutritionist Melanie Olivier’s seal of approval. Passionate about walking and running, Alexandra also informs us on the benefits of running in both our physical and mental health. She also includes her coach’s advice, Pierre Léveillé, Olympic athlete and owner of the store Endurance. In short, if you want to get fit while you feast, this is your book!


Fiesta Santé, Mes recettes et mes trucs pour commencer à bouger et être débordante d’énergie by Alexandra Diaz   ̶  Éd. de l’Homme


© Annie-France Charbonneau

Simply Delicious

Yotam Ottolenghi is a columnist, host, and owner of famous delis and Mediterranean restaurants in London. Author of seven bestselling cookbooks including Plenty and Sweet, Ottolenghi offers us dishes that will delight those who love easy and tasty cooking. Brunch, vegetable, grains, pasta, meat, fish and dessert! There are 140 delicious recipes for everyday meals… and feasts for special occasions.


Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi – Appetite by Random House


Forest Treasures

This masterful book is more than just a cookbook. A true bible of Quebec’s edible plants, it puts forth ancestral knowledge and gives us the key to rediscover the forgotten treasures of our wild land. Practical and poetic, it contains more than 100 recipes to prepare forest delights.


FORÊT, Identifier, cueillir, cuisiner by Ariane Paré-Le Gal et Gérald Le Gal ̶  Éd. Cardinal


Gourmet and Meetless Kitchen

Jean-Philippe Cyr from La cuisine de Jean-Philippe is back with 100 new recipes inspired by our grandmothers’ classics. Both funny and seductive, this book delivers the greatest hits from yesterday to today in 100% vegan style: cipaille (a traditional French Canadian dish, literally translated as “six doughs”), carrot cake, meatball stew, onion soup, homemade donuts… Inescapable comfort food interpreted by the vegan star’s magic touch.


Mes grands classiques véganes by Jean-Philippe Cyr   ̶ Éd.Cardinal


Fun and Practical

It’s about time: the most popular vegan in Quebec, Caroline Huard aka Loounie, finally launches her first cookbook. She reveals more than 100 vegan recipes without any processed products (or almost!). Loounie offers up great tips and tricks to have more fun and less stress in the kitchen.


Loounie cuisine : astuces et recettes 100 % végétales by Caroline Huard   ̶ KO Éditions


© Dominique Lafond


Text: Diane Stehle