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2024 Designer Dozen: Heather Woods

She revels in a diverse range of projects




2024 Designer Dozen: Heather Woods
Heather Woods
Team Leader, Figure3
Age: 29

Favorite Time of Day: I’m a night owl!
Favorite Celebrity: Jennifer Lawrence. I think we would be best friends.


Known for her “go team” mentality around the office, Heather has earned the title of “the connector” for her ability to harmonize concepts, client expectations, constraints and outcomes. Responsible for the day-to-day management of all major retail projects, she acts as a liaison between designers, clients and project consultants. Since starting with Figure3 in 2021, she has worked on a variety of concepts from pop-ups to permanent stores, including brands like Keilhauer, Chanel, Porter Airlines, Miele and Purolator. One of her most notable projects to date was Keilhauer, which had showrooms spanning North America from Toronto to Chicago to New York. She was able to reduce the build costs by two-thirds without compromising integrity.

“You can’t underestimate the power of an eternal optimistic spirit like Heather’s,” her co-workers say. “Her energy is infectious, whether skipping into the office, dressed in a costume for Halloween or putting smiles on faces during arduous meetings.”

2024 Designer Dozen: Heather Woods 📷 Richard Cadan, Fairfield, CT

Who or what has been the greatest influence on you in your work?

Since childhood, my inclination towards creativity and the joy of crafting things has been evident. My dad’s father, a passionate painter, and my mum’s father, who dabbled in woodworking as a hobby, were my early influencers. Spending hours in my Bumpa’s workshop, witnessing the birth of his various creations, fueled my artistic creativity and fascination for building things. In the realm of retail, my Studio Head Mardi Najafi has been an exceptional mentor and a significant influence on my work. His unwavering passion for retail design is unparalleled, constantly inspiring me to push boundaries and think creatively every single day.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I revel in the diverse range of projects that come my way. One day, we’re brainstorming innovative ways to transform a brand’s shopping experience and the next we’re immersed in designing an airport lounge. Each project brings its own uniqueness, varying in scale and program. Regardless of size, one consistent thread is the intense pace, requiring quick thinking, confidence and a constant push forward. And then there’s the unparalleled satisfaction of stepping into a completed space. Beyond the late nights and extended hours, the reward is immense when you witness the joy of everyone involved with the final product. It’s an experience that transcends the confines of a 3-D model, making all the effort truly worthwhile.


Retail changes every day. What role do you see physical stores playing in the future?

The purpose of a physical store extends far beyond transactions; it serves as a hub for community building and the embodiment of shared values. Looking ahead, I envision stores maintaining and even enhancing this relationship by facilitating connections among like-minded individuals through immersive in-store experiences. This will involve elevated customer engagement achieved by seamlessly integrating digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR).

I find (design) inspiration in…

…my everyday commute/life in Toronto. I do a lot of window shopping and observing from the streetcar.

My favorite thing to do when I leave the office is…

…hike an awesome trail. One of my favorites is the Niagara Glen. You get to walk alongside the Niagara River while the whirlpool jet boats zip by – and right across the river is the U.S., which is pretty cool to see!




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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