Retail Design Institute 2022/2023 Student Design Competition Winners Announced

The Retail Design Institute of Canada (RDI) held its very first design competition to highlight student design and talent across Canada. The RDI competition welcomed architects, interior designers, retail planners, visual merchandisers, brand strategists, and graphic designers. Last fall of 2022, the RDI held its 2022/2023 competition  “The Future of Retail Spaces” and asked students to create a two-minute video showcasing their retail design strategies with the theme in mind and using inspiration from other projects during their academic experience.

First Place: Melania Santilli

The first-place winner was Melaina Santilli, an interior design graduate from Sheridan College. Santilli’s interior design philosophy is sustained by curiosity, conceptualization, and empathy. The jury defined her submission video as “a prolific video that was comprehensive and integrated hand sketches to show evolution of the process. A powerful and confident submission.” The video effectively revealed Santilli’s confidence, commitment to the process, and symbolism. The first place prize awarded Santilli $3,000 cash and recognition for a lifetime. She now works at the Toronto design studio, Figure3, as an intern project designer.

Second Place: SJ AL Hmaidi

SJ Al Hmaidi was awarded second place for his interior design submission. The Bachelor of Interior Design student at Fanshawe College is driven by creativity and problem-solving and revealed that in his submission video. His future focus supported a consistent design story. The jury explained how “SJ created a video narrative that not only had captivating and appropriate content, he pushed himself to do something different.” A $2,000 cash prize was given to Hmaidi. He also won the 2022 Bollock + Wood Design Student Award which celebrates interior design, relocation, and renovation.

Third Place: Katelyn Montgomery

The third place was granted to Katelyn Montgomery, Honours Bachelor of Interior Design student at Fanshawe College. Her hard work and dedication to innovation were not disregarded by the design jury. They said, “Katelyn conveyed a compelling expression of her own point of view, her video crafted a strong case for why retail design needs to change and must be prioritized by the design solution.” Montgomery’s submission video revealed why the retail design industry needs to revolutionize. She was awarded a $1,000 cash prize for her video.

The RDI jury was composed of esteemed professionals in the Canadian retail design field including Paola Marques, head of North America at Benoy/ GH +, Montreal, QC, Marcella Au, associate retail and interiors lead at BDP Quadrangle North America, Toronto, ON, Nick Iozzo, president and founder at the Ancillary Agency, Toronto, ON and Emily Robin Sauer, principal, and designer of Innovation+ Strategy and Interiors at Emily Robin Design, Vancouver, B.C.

The jury critiqued each submission video based on creativity, innovation in retail design, originality, and brand continuity.

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