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iKOU is the Institute's 2017 Store of the Year!

The Retail Design Institute named iKOU, a specialty skincare retailer located in Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building, its 2017 Store of the Year. The honor was announced May 23 at the Institute’s 47th Awards Gala & Fundraiser in New York City.

Designed by Pinto Tuncer, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, iKOU is a holistic, ethically sourced, luxury skincare brand. The Pinto Tuncer design team sought to translate iKOU’s philosophy -- “encouraging mindful and relaxing moments inspired by nature” – into a clinical-yet-inviting haven. Clearly zoned through planning and materiality, iKOU’s two distinct-but-intertwined zones define the customer experience.

The store was selected from among 115 projects entered in the Institute’s annual design competition. It further competed against nearly three-dozen fellow finalists before emerging as the 2017 Store of the Year.

“iKOU is the quintessential example of excellence in design at the intersection of the dominant trends in retail today,” commented one judge. ”The store perfectly reflects the wellness brand that it represents: using local materials and live plants balanced with crisp modernism, strategic, well-edited merchandising, technology that supports rather than dominates, and on-point lighting design echoing the natural, sustainable design concept -- all adding up to a space that surprises and delights.”

Said Creative Director Ilker Tuncer, “As we watched all of the winning projects (projected onscreen at the event) we were amazed by the quality. We were convinced that any one of the them could be named store of the year.” Added Architect Gerard Pinto, "We were deeply honored to receive this important recognition from the only organization devoted to retail design and retail designers."

In all, the Institute’s competition awarded 33 projects representing the work of 23 firms (8 international and 15 North American design teams from consultancies and retailers) in addition to 11 Innovation awards in nine categories from concept to sustainability.

Joining iKOU, the Class of 2017 includes:

  • Air Jordan, Toronto, Design: Ædifica and SET Creative (Innovation Award for Branding);

  • Arçelik, Istanbul, Design: FITCH (Innovation Award for Digital Integration);

  • Chicago Cubs Store, Chicago, Design: Chipman Design Architecture;

  • Coffee for Sasquatch, Los Angeles, Design: Dan Brunn Architecture;

  • Etude House, Seoul, Design: Dalziel & Pow;

  • Flight Club, Los Angeles, Design: Slade Architecture (Innovation Award for Concept);

  • Galeries Lafayette, Istanbul, Design: Plajer & Franz (Innovation Award for Lighting);

  • Gnome Grown, Oregon City, Design: The High Road Design Studio;

  • Handsome Cycles, Minneapolis, Design: KNOCK Inc.;

  • Hershey’s Chocolate World, New York City, Design: FRCH Design Worldwide;

  • Holler & Dash Biscuit House, Atlanta, Design: FRCH Design Worldwide;

  • Huawei, Milan, Design: Alessandro Luciani Designer;

  • Landmark, Alabang, Design: Hugh A. Boyd Architects (Innovation Award for Store Planning);

  • Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, Boston, Design: Bergmeyer Associates and COJE Management Group;

  • Louis Vuitton, Mexico City Design: Materia (Innovation for Storefront | Façade);

  • M.A.R.S., Santa Monica, Design: Giorgio Borruso Design;

  • MA Chinese Cuisine, St. Catharines, Design: dialogue 38;

  • Marie’s Baby Circle, Hanam-si, Design: Dalziel & Pow (Innovation Award for Visual Merchandising);

  • Repsol, Madrid, Design: IRID Design International (Innovation Award for Sustainability);

  • Saks Fifth Avenue 10022-SHOE, Greenwich, Design: FRCH Design Worldwide;

  • Savannah Bee Company, Atlanta, Design: Bergmeyer Associates;

  • Sephora Studio, Boston, Design: Sephora; Solestice, New York City, Design: Christian Lahoude Studio;

  • SONOS, London, Design: Bergmeyer Associates;

  • Studio Xfinity, Washington, DC, Design: Gensler;

  • Suncorp, Sydney, Design: Geyer; Target, Minneapolis, Design: Target;

  • Tsujiri, Mississauga; Design: dialogue 38; V&A Shop, London, Design: Mark Pinney Associates (Innovation for Fixturing);

  • Volkswagen, Birmingham, Design: Dalziel & Pow;

  • Whole Foods Market, Sudbury, Design: Jacobs and StudioGee (Innovation Award for Shell Architecture);

  • WithMe, Santa Monica, Design: Giorgio Borruso Design (Innovation Award for Fixturing).

In addition to the store awards, Brian Shafley, ceo of Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, Ohio, was inducted into the Retail Design Legion of Honor, for his nearly 30 years in the design profession. And the audience was introduced to the Mark V. Looper Award for Design Collaboration, named for Professional Member Mark Looper, who passed away in August 2017. The first award in Looper’s name, will be given this year to the winning group submission entering the Institute’s Student Design Competition.

The New York Chapter handled coordinating judging of 115 projects submitted for competition under the direction of 47th Design Competition Judging Chair Diana Bernal, RDI. Judges were: Adegboyega Adefope, professor, New York Institute of Technology, New York City; Andrew Lee, RDI, project manager, architecture, Equinox, New York City; Domenico Ponti, vice president, design & construction, Eataly, New York City; Diana Revkin, RDI, studio director, TPG Architecture, New York City; Micah Shadowen, project associate, Chipman Design Architecture, Chicago (48th Design Competition Judging Chair); Randall Stone, studio head, ә*māz, New York City and Ana Valencia, director of architecture, Tapestry Inc., New York City. International President Claudia Cerchiara, RDI and International Chairman James Farnell, RDI, also served as judges. Stores of the Year 47, including all winners, will be available next month to all Institute members and later as an on-demand hardcopy sold through Amazon.

The 47th Awards Gala & Fundraiser attracted a number of sponsors including: Ædifica, ASI, BHDP Architecture, Chipman Design Architecture, FRCH Design Worldwide and Gensler. Proceeds from sponsorship and ticket sales benefit the Institute's Student Design Competition Prize Fund.

Stores opened in 2018 (January 1 through December 31, 2018) are eligible to compete in the Institute's 48th International Design Competition. Details to be announced in September.


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