By Patricia Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief – Welcome to VMSD’s third annual celebration of up-and-coming designers (35 years or younger) in the retail realm. Since 2012’s inauguration of the award program, we’ve realized steadily increasing participation from retailers and design firms that recognize the value of showcasing the industry’s best and brightest talent.

These rising retail stars are instrumental in creating compelling shopping environments around the world and in sectors ranging from luxury apparel and home goods to electronics, groceries and restaurants. With drive, determination and, in many cases, a demonstrated sense of humor and collegiality, they navigate a minefield of challenges, from impossible deadlines and tight budgets to escalating client expectations. “It forces us to think of new solutions to old problems,” says Kylie Bodiya of Swarovski, one of this year’s awardees. Winner Gregory Flannigan adds, “I’m coming of age in a new economic paradigm, where creative services are under extraordinary scrutiny. It’s an awesome pressure, the kind that leads to ingenuity and resilience.”

Topping it all off, many of these winners somehow manage an enviable work-life balance, giving back to their communities by mentoring younger coworkers or sharing their talents and time with local charitable organizations.

From leading multiple store openings and embracing the integration of new technology to adapting design to local cultures and advocating cutting-edge practices, these inductees are driving the future of retail design. Read on to learn more about the 2014 class of the VMSD Designer Dozen Awards.


11. Jonathan Tsurui
Project Manager/Associate
William Duff Architects Inc., San Francisco | Age: 33

Why him? Since joining WDA seven years ago as a designer, Tsurui has developed into a project manager capable of overseeing multiple projects simultaneously. Clients cite his creative solutions to design challenges and his consummate professionalism on projects as varied as Hermès, Gucci, Coach and Burberry (all DFS projects at San Francisco International Airport), Day one Baby, Split Bread and Mixt Greens.

“What catches my eye in the retail world is the timelessness of customer service. Customer service takes many forms, but some aspect of the idea will forever be at the heart of retail design.”

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Split Bread – Metreon

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