The New York chapter of the Retail Design Institute (RDI) recently hosted its annual “Iron Design” Student Challenge at Steelcase in Columbus Circle, New York. Five teams of students from top New York design schools raced against the clock to create a winning holiday pop-up shop design. Ultimately, the Best Design Award went to “Team Orange,” comprised of students from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and LIM College for incorporating DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)’s mission into a creative pop-up store concept and window display.
“Our Iron Design Student Challenge represents a perfect blend of what the Retail Design Institute is all about—education, mentoring, career development and networking,” said Peter Tolin-Baker, president of Retail Design Institute and principal at PTB Design. “All of the teams were winners, but it was ‘Team Orange’s’ schematic that best incorporated both a pop-up retail concept, as well as an informative and compelling design narrative. Partnering with DIFFA for this year’s event adds the additional value of supporting a fellow non-profit organization and an important cause.”
The students had two hours to design a holiday pop-up shop featuring products donated by industry suppliers. Each team consisted of three to four students from FIT, LIM College and Parsons School of Design.
The teams were mentored and coached by professionals from design firms and retail brands, including: Leslie Ann Chiu, associate principal at Callison; Eduardo Figueroa-Ruiz, designer at CBX; Aya Matsumoto, senior designer at TPG Architecture; Norm Roberts, vice president/creative director of FRCH; Kate Russell, senior associate at Gensler; Adam Carmichael, director of store design at Saks Fifth Avenue; Stephanie Dobrosky, manager of international store design of Nine West Group; Megan Gundrum, director of store planning at Hudson’s Bay/Lord & Taylor; Stephen Policano, vice president architectural and interior design at Kenneth Cole; and Niki Varadi, senior director of global store design at Kate Spade.
The student’s designs were judged on their overall concept for a shop and integration of messaging around HIV/AIDS. In addition to Baker, judges were Michael Sainato, vice president of creative at Design Within Reach; Johanna Osburn, executive director of DIFFA; Brian Guze, 2014 Iron Design winner and director of store design/visual at Tourneau; and Ana Pelucarte, co-founder of Pop Up Mob.
Team Orange’s winning design will be displayed in the Siegel & Stockman Showroom located at 126 W. 25 St. in New York. There will be a private Opening Night Reception on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; and the holiday pop-up shop will be open to the public from Dec. 2-6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. All shop sales will benefit Gift For Life and DIFFA, an organization that provides grants to HIV/AIDS organizations across the country.
Photo courtesy of RDI.