Hidden Hotspot #2: Commissaires

Posted on April 29th, 2009 by .

Running up the hills and hunting for artsy terra incognita, our hero finds the perfect allegory to Montréal’s taste for risk in Commissaires.

You’re warned from the outside. “Commissaires is a boutique,” says the text on the door. “You can come in, and look, and talk, and ask questions. You can also buy stuff, but you don’t necessarily have to. And you enter by pulling the door.” It’s probably the best way to describe the spirit at Commissaires, a hybrid concept of boutique and art gallery defying (and defining) trends that clearly represents Montréal’s core values.

What makes Commissaires stand out from other places in the city and the world isn’t simply the fact it sells bold designer pieces of furniture and artwork. Yes, artists from the four courners of the planet present their work here – last year, star-designer Kwangho Lee showed his wacky lamp creations made with textile for the first time outside South Korea – and local artists use this space to give a new twist to some Canadian art icons using raw materials such as wood and fur.

It’s a place to relax, to admire and to get inspired, too. You’re always in for a surprise at Commissaires, as they continually re-stock with the unexpected. It’s new, innovative and fresh, and sometimes provocative. Commissaires is always miles in advance from other boutiques when it comes to design, architecture and art. But it’s also a great example of what Montréal really is, a mix of Europe’s culture and history, and North America’s taste for risk. It’s about how our own plucky creativity and the welcoming of different cultures can make something exceptional happen.

5226 St. Laurent Blvd.

View more photos of Commissaires on my Flickr account.

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