interior designers of canada designers d'intérieur du canada

The Retail Design Institute (RDI) is invested in developing the next generation of design talent; they aim to develop retail design programs to inspire, educate, and provide rich opportunities for emerging professionals. RDI believes that students in disciplines connected to retail design are the future.

In the fall of 2022, Retail Design Institute Canada launched its first ever student-focused 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, Que.
  • Marcella Au, Associate, Retail + Interiors Lead, BDP Quadrangle North America, Toronto, Ont.
  • Nick Iozzo, President / Founder at the Ancillary Agency, Toronto, Ont.
  • Emily Robin Sauer, Principal – Designer | Innovation + Strategy + Interiors, Emily Robin Design, Vancouver, B.C.

The jury critiqued the videos on four elements:

  1. Creative approach to the video
  2. Innovation in retail design concepts
  3. Originality
  4. Brand Continuity

The competition was generously sponsored by Benjamin Moore, Visual Citi, Sherwin Williams and Division Twelve; Strategic Partner, Interior Designers of Canada; and Media Partners VMSD Magazine and Retail Touch Points.


First Place Winner

  • $3,000 cash prize awarded to Melaina Santilli, Honours Bachelor of Interior Design student at Sheridan College in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • View Melania’s submission video

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, Honours Bachelor of Interior Design student at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada
  • View SJ’s submission video

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

  • $1,000 cash prize awarded to Katelyn Montgomery, Honours Bachelor of Interior Design student at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada
  • View Katelyn’s submission video

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, was held on Feb. 15, 2023 at the offices of BDP Quadrangle.