DX Announces 2019 RBC Canadian Emerging Designer Winner

In partnership with RBC Foundation, Design Exchange (DX) has named Studio for Architecture & Collaboration (StudioAC) the winner of the 2019 RBC Canadian Emerging Designer Competition.

As this year’s title-holder, StudioAC will receive a $20,000 cash prize, a customized mentorship program, and an exhibition at DX beginning today.

Candy Loft; Photo Courtesy of DX

“At RBC, our commitment to the arts includes helping artists bridge the gap from emerging to established,” said Valerie Chort, Vice-President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “We are thrilled to support RBC’s Emerging Designer Program – giving artists the opportunity to showcase their work, and to help even more emerging Canadian design talent pursue their dreams.”

Studio for Architecture & Collaboration is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary architectural practice founded in 2015, and led by Andrew Hill and Jennifer Kudlats.

Among the practice’s projects in Toronto are the Annex Hotel, a minimally designed boutique hotel; the Broadview Loft, a studio loft space created for young professionals with a playful twist; and a private residence revival in an 1880s Victorian structure.

StudioAC’s initiative is to produce impactful architecture that “speaks to its context at a multitude of scales.”

The firm states that good design, architecture, and art have the ability to bring people together, enhance a community, start essential conversations in our cities, and help businesses flourish.

“We are incredibly grateful to RBC and Design Exchange for this generous award and amazing opportunity. We have worked incredibly hard to find moments of exploration in all of the work we do, and being recognized for that and given the financial support to continue that work is truly an honor,” said Jennifer Kudlats and Andrew Hill, founders of StudioAC. “Our exhibition showcases all of the design work we have dreamt up in since the beginning – from the smallest pieces and projects that were never built to work that has received recognition among our peers. We look forward to including this exhibition and award in our timeline as a pivotal point in the life line of StudioAC.”

The jury, selected by Design Exchange, featured: Kristen Joy Watts, editor of @design at Instagram; Michael Green, founder of Michael Green Architecture ; Chen Cohen, Interior Design Principal at DIALOG; Stephan Weishaupt, founder of AVENUE ROAD; Joy Charbonneau, Architectural Design Leader at Gensler; Art Mandalas, President and Chief Creative Officer of Community in Toronto; and Sandra Bricker, Director of Visual Merchandising at RBC.

“Their work is all very clean, detail driven, and discreet. There’s clever lighting, and thoughtful use of material. I think that they are rising stars – I know they are,” said jury member Joy Charbonneau.

Honourable mentions were selected alongside StudioAC, and will be awarded with a $1000 monetary prize.


Kfir Gluzberg of Kilogram Studio

Kfir Gluzberg is an architect, designer and professor who founded Kilogram Studio, an architecture firm that focuses on the relationship of the designer and fabricator. The firm also experiments with materials and the design of interiors as an extension of Canada’s urban environment.

Office Ou

Office Ou’s Toronto-based landscape and architecture design office was established around the values of collaboration, social impact and environmental sustainability. According to DX, their work looks upon creating innovative and socially progressive spaces that connect people with one another, and the places they inhabit.

Simon Laliberte

Simon Laliberte is an art director, designer, screen printer, and founder of Montréal design studio, BangBang. With over 10 years of design experience, Laliberte is highly skilled in the creation of visual identities, packaging and printed design.

Thom Fougere

Thom Fougere is the creative director at EQ3 where he rebranded the company by transforming the product line, graphic design, photography, interiors and the architectural design. In 2015, the creative director founded his own studio, Thom Fougere Studio, which focuses on home architecture, furniture, and products.

AVYN Studio inc.

Avyn is a Canadian-American designer inspired by her background in dance and her curiosity to understand how the body can transmit emotion through movement. Avyn launched her first womenswear collection in 2017, created with a commitment to working with fine mills and craftsmen in Italy, Japan, and Canada.

Previous Winners

In 2013-14, Vancouver’s Lukas Peet was the overall winner and went on to cofound ANDlight, a lighting company with clients that include Sun Life Financial and Shopify.

Alexander Josephson was selected as the overall winner in 2015-16 and has continued to make a name for himself with his work at PARTISANS, the architecture firm that counts Toronto hot spots Bar Raval and Quetzal, and the revitalization of Toronto’s Union Station.

Last year, Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks, founder of Peggy Sue Collection, was chosen as the overall winner and has since been a key player in the Canadian fashion industry. DX states that her sustainable approach to design and production has earned her a nomination for The Fashion Impact Award at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. Deaven-Smiltnieks has also won Fashion Takes Action’s Design Forward Award.