New York–Retail Design Institute New York Chapter (RDI) hosted its annual “Iron Design” Student Challenge at Steelcase in Columbus Circle. Five teams of students from top NY 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 Fashion Institute of Technology and LIM College for incorporating DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)’s mission into a creative pop-up
store concept and window display.
The winning design will be built in the Siegel-Stockman Showroom in Chelsea as DIFFA’s Gift for Life Holiday Pop-Up Shop and open to the public for holiday shopping December 2 to 6.
“Our Iron Design Student Challenge represents a perfect blend of what the Retail Design Institute is all about – education, mentoring, career development and networking. All of the teams were winners, but it was “Team Orange’s” schematic that best incorporated both a popup 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,” said Peter Tolin-Baker, president of Retail Design Institute.
During the event, cocktails and passed hors d’hoeuvres were served to an audience of nearly
120 local architects and designers as they supported the competitors. The students had two hours to design a Holiday Pop-Up shop featuring products donated by industry suppliers. Each team consisted of 3-4 students from the Fashion Institute of Technology, 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, VP/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, VP architectural and interior design at Kenneth Cole and Niki Varadi, senior director
of global store design at Kate Spade.
“Team Orange united to design a space that invokes comfort through support. Their design
relayed the message that those fighting HIV/AIDS or any disease are not alone– we are in this
fight together!” said Megan Gundrum, director of store planning of Lord & Taylor, one of the
mentors of the winning team.
The student’s designs were judged on their overall concept for a shop and integration of
messaging around HIV/AIDS. The judges were: Peter Tolin-Baker, president of Retail Design
Institute of New York and principal at PTB Design; Michael Sainato, VP of creative at design
Within Reach; Johanna Osburn, executive director of DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation
Fighting AIDS; Brian Guze, 2014 Iron Design winner and director of store design/visual at
Tourneau, and Ana ‘Madhat’ Pelucarte, co-founder of Pop Up Mob.
“The pop up shop is a great way for DIFFA to bring its critical message to a wider audience. The
student’s designs were very impressive and their work goes toward a great cause of combating
HIV/AIDS. DIFFA and Gift for Life are so proud to have partnered with RDI for this amazing
event, and we look forward to the Holiday Pop-Up shop!” said Johanna Osburn.
Team Orange’s winning design will be displayed in the Siegel-Stockman Showroom located at
126 West 25 Street in New York City. There will be a private Opening Night Reception on World
AIDS Day, December 1, from 6-9 PM; and the Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be open to the public
from December 2-6, 9 AM-5 PM. All shop sales will benefit Gift For Life and DIFFA, an
organization that provides grants to HIV/AIDS organizations across the country.
ABOUT RETAIL DESIGN INSTITUTE OF NYC
The Retail Design Institute (RDI) is a collective of architects, interior designers, design students
and educators, store planners, lighting designers, graphic designers, visual merchandisers,
brand strategists and trade suppliers to the retail industry who promote the advance and
collaborative practice of creating selling environments. www.retaildesigninstitute.org.
DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS raises awareness and grants funds to
organizations that fight HIV/AIDS by providing treatment and direct care services for people
living with or impacted by the disease, offering preventative education programs targeted to
populations at rick of infection, or supporting public policy initiatives. DIFFA is one of the largest
funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States, mobilizing the
immense resources and creativity of the design community. Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA
has emerged from a grassroots organization into a national foundation based in New York City
with chapters and community partners across the country that, working together, have provided
more than $41 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide. www.diffa.org.
ABOUT GIFT FOR LIFE
Gift for Life unites the gift and home industries against AIDS with more
than $5 million raised since its inception in 1992. In 2008, Gift for Life selected DIFFA: Design
Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and
education programs in the U.S., as its sole charity partner. www.giftforlife.org