Rob Macdonnell Design
Design concepts for new and existing worship spaces.
Designs for liturgical furnishings, stained glass and other liturgical arts.
I was commissioned to design the tabernacle for a new Cistercian monastery. Since it would form part of the prayer environment I approached it not only as ritual object but also as liturgical art. For me the beauty and the power of art is in its ability to offer both artist and beholder glimpses into the mystery of our selves. Aware that the monks would spend much of their lives in the presence of this tabernacle, I felt humbled but energized by their trust.
I studied the chapel and discussed the project with the assembled community. I was listening for their concerns, especially those arising from the heart and gut because I believe that it is on this level that art truly engages us. I appreciate the affinity that abstract art has with ritual prayer, and so for this project I decided on a non-representational design. The tabernacle would be simple and sculptural. Fine materials would be used. Close collaboration with the builder would ensure quality. A full-scale model viewed in place by the monks would allow for feedback and modifications to the design.
Following graduate work in liturgical studies at Catholic University, Washington, I spent over 2 decades as artistic director for Desmarais & Robitaille, a 100 year-old Montreal firm specializing in the liturgical arts. My work involved me in a broad range of art and design projects with cathedrals, parish churches, monastery and hospital chapels. I have received Visual Arts Awards for stained glass, sculpture, liturgical furnishings and ritual objects. My design and art work appears in worship places across Canada as well as the states bordering Quebec.