Echelles is an editorial collective born of the desire to create a platform for pluridisciplinary exchange and reflection, accessible to all, with a focus on spatial and material culture. It reflects the diversified scales of design as applied to the build environment, from the discipline itself to the genesis of a project.
The publication is conceived as a site of experimentation, to play with the limits of these scales; where they meet, and where they diverge. We seek to observe, understand, to feel the environment and its emergent challenges.
Echelles aims to explore the artistic, cultural, historical, social, environmental, and political ramifications of design in every form it takes. Published annually, the magazine collects essays, critiques, stories, interviews, conversations, and reflections on the subject of the environment in which human beings manifest themselves.
An initiative born on the benches of the UQAM School of Design, Echelles looks to become a tool of unification for the design community in Montreal. It equally seeks to collapse the distance between members of the faculties of design, urban planning and architecture.
Its contents dance between French and English. This is a choice representative not only of our bilingual editorial team, but also the linguistic diversity that characterises the City of Montreal.
Echelles has as its mandate to support and circulate the work of artists who are local, emerging, indigenous, BIPOC, members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, as well as any and all other communities who find themselves in marginalized positions. Echellesalso seeks to forge warm ties with any readers who consider themselves as such.
Échelles defies expectations of what a design magazine should be.
Échelles explores the artistic, historical, social and political implications of design.
Échelles looks for ethical engagement.
Échelles looks to create, disseminate, preserve design content.
Échelles provides a platform for reflecting on the relationship between design and society.
Échelles strives to have staying power on the bookshelf.
Échelles prioritizes proactive design.
Échelles observes, understands and reads it’s environment.
Échelles dances between the cerebral and the naive.
Échelles transforms the sensible into tangible.
Échelles questions itself on its identity, pertinence, and capacity to effect change.
Échelles looks to generate new ideas.
Échelles seeks to engage, support, and work with local practitioners.
Échelles provides a context for meaningful reflection and dialogue.
Échelles supports emerging practices.
Échelles is empathetic, vulnerable, unconditional.
Échelles is interdisciplinary.
Échelles is devoted to intersectionality and responsibility.
Environment design can be defined as the design of space, and the matter that occupies it; both the tangible and the imaginary. It is an integrated strategy, working across several registers. Environmental design world across every scale of design.
It deals with societal, cultural and environmental spheres, allowing its practitioners to generate critical and ethical interventions and solutions.
Environmental design proposes an approach that is both technical, artistic and systematic.
spolia, neutral, plural
Derived from the latin spolium.
Parts from a past building recycled and reused into new structures, most typically the reuse of classic Greek and Roman sculptures into paleo Christian and medieval architecture.
1. Spolia. (2016). Dans Curl, James Stevens, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture.
3rd edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press. p.724
2. Hall, Heinrich. (2013, August 26). Spolia - Recycling the Past [Blog post]. From :
https://www.petersommer.com/blog/archaeology-history/spolia/. Consulted January 11, 2018.
Spolia is a familiar word in art history and archaeology jargon. Initially appearing for utilitarian purposes, spolia took place when access to nearby materials was scarce. Nearby existing buildings became a strategic source of building materials out of necessity. The result of this phenomenon is an architectural collage, made up of fragments of previous buildings. Spolia equally designates a new and repeated occupation of these previous buildings.
Beyond the architectural detail or collage, spolia is an affirmation of a conquering of the Defeated. Spolia is the retranscribing and the “taking back’’ of history.
The reuse of vestiges is a way to appropriate the symbolic value of the stones, to make ones own.
Today we tend to conserve and preserve the existing. Built culture is invested, interpreted and realized. Échelles wonders, is it time to move from appropriation to regeneration ? Can we potentially spoilate our own history ?
The notion of spolia is fascinating in its versatility, which manifests itself in architecture and construction as well as in immaterial phenomena.
Today, spolia represent much more than stones. Who is appropriating what ?
Spolia takes root in history, but can be found in contemporary issues.
Échelles 02 is our pretext to look at the prod in review. We imagine the potentials of spolia used in every discipline.
This exercise is at once playful and fundamentally critical. We invite you to both call into question and affirm this practice.
To explore spolia , we look to the ancient and the contemporary. We observe spolia to compare and contrast with our own practices or those of our neighbors . We ask ourselves what this phenomenon can reveal about human nature. Why do we, as humans, so intuitively cite, draw inspiration or even appropriate culture ?
We invite you to imagine the spolia collages of today and of tomorrow.