By Megan Harman
Toronto-based interior design studio Burdifilek received seven awards at the Retail Design Institute’s Gala Awards and Fundraiser in New York City on Wednesday, May 24, including the International Store of the Year Award for its design of the Mackage store at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Burdifilek, founded in 1993 by Diego Burdi and Paul Filek, works with retailers and other companies around the world to create unique brand concepts and experiences.
In addition to Mackage, two of the studio’s other recent projects were honoured at Wednesday’s gala: the Indigo store at CF Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke; and Masseria, an Italian restaurant located on King St. West in Toronto.
“We’re very honoured and we’re very flattered that the work is being recognized, and that the work is being recognized on an international level,” says Filek, managing partner of Burdifilek.
The Mackage project earned four awards in total:
- International Store of the Year
- Speciality Fashion category award
- Innovation Award for Concept
- Innovation Award for Lighting
The Indigo store received two awards:
- Specialty Hardline category award
- Innovation Award for Store Planning
Masseria received an award in the Casual Dining and Entertainment Category.
Montreal-based outerwear company Mackage opened two Toronto stores last year, located at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre. In designing these stores, Burdifilek sought to help the company create a retail experience that reflects its Canadian roots, while also resonating beyond Canadian borders.
“We wanted to create a Canadiana lifestyle experience, but we didn’t want it to be so cliché, and we wanted to add an element of sophistication to the brand narrative and experience,” says Filek. “We were designing a luxury ski chalet for the current decade.”
The stores were designed around the concept of compartmentalization, with collections displayed within boxed vignettes that aim to create a sense of intimacy within the large space. Other design features include dramatic dark marble floors, splashes of white marble and oversized mirrors.
Montreal-based Axxys Construction, also a sponsor of Retail Insider, built the award-winning Yorkdale Mackage space.
(photos directly below are of the beautiful Yorkdale Mackage store)
The Indigo store, which opened in May 2016, was part of an initiative by that retailer to draw customers into the store in spite of the growing volume of books being purchased online.
“In the last five years, more bookstores have closed than actually opened around the world, and that’s a result of people shopping online,” Filek says. “So, the opportunity with Indigo was to look at a new customer experience.”
With the new store, Burdifilek helped Indigo CEO Heather Reisman execute her vision of creating a “cultural department store for book-lovers.” Although books continue to be core to Indigo’s identity, the new store incorporates a variety of other complementary merchandise, divided into sections such as Room Of Her Own, Joy of the Table, Paper Shop, and Art and Photography. Each department was designed with a distinct look and feel, similar to the different rooms within someone’s home.
“Indigo is still a bookstore, but it’s now positioned itself as a cultural department store, where you may go in thinking about books, but ultimately, you are enticed by all of the new product and experience,” Filek says. “It’s a very dramatic evolution of the brand.”
(photos directly below are of Indigo's CF Sherway Gardens store)
Masseria, a casual new Toronto pizzeria, opened in summer 2016. Burdifilek helped the owners create a space that combines contemporary design with some historical Italian influence.
The restaurant’s design elements include large harvest tables that encourage communal seating, custom light fixtures resembling hanging pot racks in an Italian home kitchen, and a prominent marble mosaic floor.
“We wanted to make that experience welcoming and inviting, and celebrate the fresh, healthy, wholesome ingredients that go into the product,” says Filek. “But, we also wanted to make it feel somewhat chic, and make it feel a little bit more upscale. But it’s still pizza at the end of the day.”
A common thread in all three of the projects that likely stood out to the Retail Design Institute, Filek says, is the international influence of the designs.
“We constantly reference the global stage for our inspiration, because we are trying to appeal to a global audience,” he says. “Even though these are ‘Canadian brands’, we never look at it from that kind of regional point of view, or national point of view; we’re always looking at it from an international point of view.”
(photos below are of Masseria's King St. W. location)
Editor's Note: All photos are by Ben Rahn of A-Frame Studio.
Megan Harman is a business reporter based in Toronto. She writes about topics including retail, financial services and technology. Megan covers Toronto’s retail industry through her blog Retail Realm (torontoretail.wordpress.com). Follow her on Twitter at @meganmharman.