Meet the Judges

Canadian Interiors’ Best of Canada Design Competition is the country’s only design competition to focus on interior design projects and products without regard to size, budget or location. We welcome submissions from interior designers, architects, interior architects, decorators, and crafts persons.

Having reached the ripe age of 21 means Best of Canada is old enough to drink everywhere, and in some ways we would love to take all the winners out for a pint to celebrate their accomplishment. In fact we’d love to take every entrant out for a drink — after all, to step in the ring and present your work to be judged is a brave act and one to be commended — but clearly with such a strong year of submission totals once again it would mean a bar tab that would rival Norm’s from Cheers.

The two categories of Projects and Products require distinct judging exercises, which were held on separate days, both at the Teknion Toronto Collaboration Hub and with Teknion’s support. A stellar group of designers and critics stepped up to tackle the daunting task of reviewing the submissions and selecting this year’s cream of the crop. For Projects we recruited: Bennett C. Lo, principal and founder of Dialogue 38 Inc.; Kelly Cray, principal and co-founder of U31 Design; Meg Graham, principal at superkül; and Anna Stranks, principal at STUDIO A Design Collaborative and a professor at Humber College’s Bachelor of Interior Design program. On the Products side, three judges put their expertise to work swotting an impressive list of entrants: Miles Keller, president of Dystil; Lee Fletcher, co-founder of Fig40; and Leslie Jen, a design journalist and communications consultant.

Ultimately, a total of 22 winners were chosen, which include three Products and 19 Projects representing a cross-Canada spectrum. When it came time to select the Project of the Year, the judges took this task extremely seriously, discussing and debating at length until a unanimous choice became clear: a sense-shifting retail nook in Toronto that celebrates the ritual of listening to music and the process of testing, Headfoneshop by Batay-Csorba Architects. “It’s easy to imagine sinking into the space and spending time there, which, from a retail perspective, is key, allowing customers to engage and understand the products,” said Graham.

The Best of Canada Awards also continues to celebrate the exceptional work of Canada’s product designers. With the Judges’ Pick one of the Products category winners got the nod for a trip package to attend Maison+Objet Paris as a VIP in January, 2019 (thanks to the ongoing generous sponsorship of Maison+Objet). This honour goes to UUfie for the “originality and poetry” of their Echo table collection. “There is something almost magical about it,” said Keller, “Echo is a sophisticated, perfectly proportioned and highly evocative design that goes its own way in a sea of sameness.”

Congratulations to all 22 winners!

Projects judges (l to r): Bennett C. Lo, Anna Stranks, Meg Graham, Kelly Cray
Products judges (l to r): Miles Keller, Leslie Jen, Lee Fletcher