RetailEXPO Announces Winners of 2020 Student Design Awards

The winners for the 2020 Retail Student Design Awards, which aim to inspire and inform the next generation of store designers, have been announced by RetailEXPO, Europe’s leading retail trade event.

The Student Design Awards see three retail brands set challenges for students at design colleges across the UK.  The students are mentored by creatives from major design agencies with the final briefs judged by a panel of experts, chaired by design industry consultant and former editor of Design Week, Lynda Relph-Knight.

Students from six colleges entered the contest this year, tackling briefs set by three participating retailers: outdoor clothing and equipment brand, Berghaus; pet supplies retailer, Pets at Home; and restaurant chain, Pizza Express.

Students from two colleges, the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Huddersfield, tackled the first brief set by Pentland Brands for its outdoor clothing and equipment brand, Berghaus.  The brief called for a full-price retail environment that could be a permanent flagship or pop-up store that presented the Berghaus brand in an engaging way.  Students were asked to consider how the store could be the centre of a community and how it would connect to the digital world.

With an exceptionally high calibre of entries, joint winners were chosen for this category:

Berghaus Design Brief Winners:

Emese Stork, Glasgow School of Art, The Berghaus Cliffhanger.  Judges were impressed by the bold pop-up structure that captures the pioneering spirit of the Berghaus brand.

Natasha Henderson, University of Huddersfield.  The judges highlighted the considered customer journey which was developed with commercial considerations in mind.  


Klaudia Radlinska, Glasgow School of Art was commended for her considered use of materials.

Special mention:

Krystian Pycinski, University of HudderfieldFour Seasons received a special mention to incorporating digital features in the design, going beyond an app or QR code.

Students from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and University for the Creative Arts Farnham were challenged to create a Puppy/Kitten store, in-store for Pets at Home with its own brand identity which could act as a community hub for pet owners.

Pets at Home Design Brief Winner:

Ruth Gorner, MMU, The New Owners HubJudges were impressed by the sense of community in this design and the lightness of touch within the design.

Highly commended:

Daniel Eckhoff, MMU, The Ultimate Playground.  Judges felt this design could be adopted immediately, commenting on the architectural quality. 


Chaoran Li, University for the Creative Arts Farnham, Joy of Life.  Judges thought this was the best of the UCA schemes.

Rowen Ford, MMU, Follow Your NoseThis entry was commended for the branding – one of the few entries that addressed this element well.

Forrest Hu, MMU, Pets Talk.  This entry was commended for the originality of the idea, the presentation and the fun in it.

Students from Middlesex and Ravensbourne Universities worked to a brief set by restaurant chain, Pizza Express, which asked for a new ‘grab and go’ format, with a simplified menu, for busy travel hubs such as airports and train stations.  Again, due to the high standard of work joint winners were also chosen in this category.

Pizza Express Design Brief Winners:

Ashna Butt, Middlesex University, Living KitchenThe judges loved the humanistic aspect of this design and the integration of take-away and short-stay sections so customers can choose how they eat, according to the time they have before their journey. 

Ligia Popa, Middlesex University, Pizza By Slice.  This was a sophisticated design showing an elegant use of materials and colour. It is a contemporary design that draws on heritage.


Sophie Bennett, Ravensbourne University, Pizza Express ArcadeJudges described Sophie’s scheme as completely off the wall and in many ways dystopian with elements such as the dough balls dispenser working as a standalone feature.

Special mention:

Micaela Favia, Middlesex University, Through the WindowThe judges felt that of all the entries this was the strongest at offering a ‘grab & go’ service.

The judging panel this year consisted of Jo Percival, global store design and VM director, and Amy Duke, global store design manager both of The Body Shop; Specsavers future store designer Tesh Chauhan; Gensler principal John Tollit; Dalziel & Pow design project leader Anna Sanders; Quinine founder Ian Johnston; AHMH architect Francesco Draisci and independent interaction designer Ross Philips.

Judges were impressed with the way that entrants tackled the briefs, applauding the clarity of communication, and the way that the winning entrants developed strong ideas into projects that the retailers would be pleased to implement in their businesses.

“The calibre of the entries was exceptional and collectively the retailers, mentors and judging panel were excited and inspired by the energy and enthusiasm shown by the students,” says Lydia Relph-Knight.

Matt Bradley, Event Director of RetailEXPO, commented: “Covid-19 and the resulting rise of online shopping will have long lasting effects on bricks and mortar retail and hospitality.  Currently, consumers don’t have the option of going to a physical store and must rely on online shopping for their needs.  This will only increase their expectations of physical retail and hospitality when the pandemic is over.  There will be a clear preference for brands that provide a great in-store experience and store design will have a crucial role in the re-emergence of the high street.  We are delighted to support the next generation of store designers who will be creating the aspirational in-store environments that will help future proof the British retail and hospitality sectors for years to come.”

The winning and shortlisted work can be viewed at

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