At a gala dinner in Toronto this past November, the Design Exchange presented  its annual national awards, recognizing projects that balance function, aesthetics and economic success. DXAs were presented in 12 categories, ranging from architecture and industrial design to landscape architecture and visual communication.

The 12 categories include three devoted to interior design. In an unusual turn of events, two companies from the Interior Design – Commercial category were awarded Gold; two companies from the Interior Design – Temporary category also garnered Gold; and the Interior Design – Residential category was cancelled due to poor submissions.

The two Gold Commercial winners are the Avenue Road Showroom at 415 Eastern Avenue, by Yabu Pushelberg; and Brown Thomas Luxury Hall, by Burdifilek. The former is a transformation of an historic Consumers Gas building in Toronto into a contemporary showroom for furniture retailer Avenue Road. A glass atrium, which pays homage to the century-old structure’s original architectural features, bisects all three floors, connecting the space so that every level is visible. (Judges referred to the project as “flawless, with seamless aesthetics.”) The latter is a space devoted to fine jewelry, watches and other fine gifts in the flagship location – in Dublin, Ireland – of luxury store Brown Thomas. The perimeter is sheathed in subtly reflective dichroic glass, the colour shifting with light and movement; soft lighting accentuates a shimmering, gold-hued iridescence throughout.

The two Gold Temporary winners are MÜVBOX, by Aedifica and Sid Lee; and Ontario Pavilion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, by Hariri Pontarini. The former is a “pop-up” fast-food venue with a graphically pleasing exterior. Created out of a recycled shipping container and powered by solar energy, MÜVBOX reinvents the old-fashioned canteen; vanishing back into its box each night, it unfolds the next morning at the touch of a button into a restaurant with a full kitchen, counters and terrace. The latter was designed as “a physical and experiential gateway to Ontario,” referencing Niagara Falls, one of the province’s most recognizable icons. With an exterior translucent screen projecting varying degrees of visibility, the pavilion prompted visitors to shift their perception of what defines transparency.  

Burdifilek also won a Bronze for the Thompson Sales Centre (Temporary). Two other firms also took home Bronze (no Silver awards were given): Dialogue 38 for Guu Izakaya restaurant (Commercial); and Munge Leung, for Pears on the Avenue – Sales Office (Temporary).

For a listing of all 2010 DXA winners, visit An exhibition is on display at the DX through Mar. 27.