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Winners Named for 2023 Canadian Student Design Competition

The program, recently launched by the Retail Design Institute of Canada, shines the spotlight on the best design talent in the country




(PRESS RELEASE) TORONTO — The Retail Design Institute is invested in developing the next generation of design talent; we aim develop retail design programs to inspire, educate, and provide rich opportunities for emerging professionals. Students in disciplines connected to retail design are the face of our future.

In the fall of 2022, Retail Design Institute Canada launched its first ever student-focused Canadian design competition to showcase the best student talent in the country: The Future of Retail Spaces.

The competition was open to students from across Canada in their final year of architecture, experiential design, graphic design, gaming design, industrial design, interactive design, interior design and visual merchandising. Students were invited to craft a two-minute video narrative showcasing their creative retail design strategies from projects during their academic careers.

The jury was comprised of esteemed creatives from the retail design field from across the country:

  • Paola Marques, Head of North America at Benoy / GH+A, Montreal, QC
  • Marcella Au, Associate, Retail + Interiors Lead, BDP Quadrangle North America, Toronto, ON
  • Nick Iozzo, President / Founder at the Ancillary Agency, Toronto, ON
  • Emily Robin Sauer, Principal – Designer | Innovation + Strategy + Interiors, Emily Robin Design, Vancouver, BC

The jury critiqued the videos on four elements:

  • Creative approach to the video
  • Innovation in retail design concepts
  • Originality
  • Brand Continuity

The competition was generously sponsored by Benjamin Moore, Visual Citi, Sherwin Williams and Division Twelve; our Strategic Partner, Interior Designers of Canada; and our media partners VMSD magazine and Retail TouchPoints.


First Place Winner

  • $3000 cash prize awarded to Melaina Santilli
  • Melaina is Honors Bachelor of Interior Design student, Sheridan College, Mississauga, Ontario, CanadaWinners Named for 2023 Canadian Student Design Competition
  • Comments from the jury:
    • “A prolific video that was comprehensive and integrated hand sketches to show evolution of process. A powerful and confident submission.”
    • “Melaina’s submission is confident, comprehensive and prolific.”
    • “I loved Melaina’s breakdown of the process and symbolism and continuity of the flower opening and closing. This was clever to help viewers flow through the presentation.”

Second Place Winner

  • $2000 cash prize awarded to SJ Al Hmaidi
  • SJ is Honours Bachelor of Interior Design, Fanshawe College, London, Ontario, CanadaWinners Named for 2023 Canadian Student Design Competition
  • Comments from the jury:
    • “A creative approach, forward thinking and future focused, overall, the video conveyed a consistent design story.”
    • “SJ created a video narrative that not only had captivating and appropriate content, he pushed himself to do something different.”


Third Place Winner

  • Comments from the jury:
    • “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.”
    • “Katelyn’s video conveyed a strong presentation and had a point of view – retail is alive! Great evidence of taking an intellectual approach to the video that demonstrates her pivot in thinking.”




The awards event, Soiree at the Well, will be held on February 15th, 2023 at the offices of BDP Quadrangle, an evening of networking and awards.

Send your press releases to VMSD at Learn about our submission guidelines.



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