Born in Paris on July 27th 1922, Jacques moved to Canada in 1939 to enroll in the Canadian Forces as a Spitfire pilot during World War II. Graduated from McGill in Architecture in 1950, he designed his famous Parachute Cord Chair in 1952, displaying a modernism previously unseen in Quebec furniture. The iconic chair is now exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal and Quebec City, as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
From industrial design to exhibition design
Jacques Guillon founded his design house in 1958, first known as Jacques Guillon Designers Inc (and then Guillon, Smith, Marquart & Ass., GSM Design, and gsmprjct°) - one of the first multidisciplinary design firms in Canada. Guillon and his associates, Morley Smith and Laurent Marquart, take on a wide variety of projects including designing “Man and His World” and other thematic pavilions at Expo 67 Pavilion. Together, they designed the Montreal metro’s wagon in the beginning of the 60’s, the MR-63 car, and the iconic signage system of the Metro.
Canadian design ambassador
Dedicated to the cause of emerging industrial designers in Canada, he collaborated with Henri Finkle and Julien Hébert to establish the Association of Canadian Industrial Designers in 1958. His lifelong commitment to the recognition of Canadian design made him a pioneer in the discipline.
An inspiring leader
In 2018, we had the privilege of interviewing him on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of GSM. With great liveliness and a continuous passion for GSM activities, Jacques followed the development of the company both in Asia and in the Middle East. His message to us: "Work together, because the final result is due to the collaboration of all”.