September 26, 2008

2008 ARIDO Awards of Excellence honours Ontario’s best interior design

ARIDO news release
For Immediate Release

Toronto – The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) announced the winners of its 24th annual ARIDO Awards of Excellence, during a gala dinner last night at the Direct Energy Centre.

This prestigious awards program honours innovation, creativity and professional achievement in the province’s interior design industry. Judges of this year’s entries chose to recognize 23 designs from 11 separate categories. Among the winning entries were six Awards of Excellence and 17 Awards of Merit.

“The wide range of award winning projects demonstrates the breadth of interior design talent across the industry and the province,” says Franca Rezza, president of ARIDO. “The Association takes great pride in the contribution its members make to public and private spaces. Our members’ designs emphasize the need for inspiring safe spaces in all realms of the built environment and to build public awareness of our professional capabilities.”

Evaluated by seven esteemed representatives from media and design, each entry was judged on its own merit and on the specific circumstances under which it was completed. In their submissions, entrants were asked to consider existing design elements, budget and project objectives, strategies employed, overall creativity, examples of project results, client feedback and elements of sustainability.

The projects of this year’s recipients speak to every space imaginable, from a residential green roof, to a museum exhibit, to a floating boardroom. Awards of excellence were given in six categories demonstrating that good design can be employed wherever we live, work and play.

Three of these projects highlighted outstanding work in the corporate sector, with two awards given to Dean Matsumoto (Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning Ltd.) for his work on the Kasian Toronto Office and within it, a special collaborative work and social gathering space anchored by a stainless steel light table, known as its Touchdown area. Also representing excellence in corporate interior design is Sharon Martens (Martens Group Licensed Interior Design Studio), whose work for the Pengrowth Corporation illustrates an unexpected contemporary approach to embracing traditionalism in the workplace. Martens also received an Award of Merit for the custom lighting created for the space.

Remarkable work also emerged from the residential sector, with two projects looking to enhance the way we live. An Award of Excellence went to Connie Braemer’s (Connie Braemer Design) spectacularly executed Osler Chalet, carried out in conjunction with Ray Murakami, Architect, which married and transported two log cabins from Quebec to Ontario. Another Award of Excellence went to Elaine Cecconi (Cecconi Simone) for her work on her own private residence. Her business partner Anna Simone took home an Award of Merit in the residential category, for her Carport and Green Roof project.

The sixth Award of Excellence was handed out to Fang-Pin Lee (Reich + Petch Design International) for her project, Butterflies and Plants, Partners in Evolution, completed in collaboration with Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, architects. The exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. playfully tackles the biology of butterflies and through its design, engages adults and children alike.

ARIDO congratulates all 2008 ARIDO Awards of Excellence recipients:


Connie Braemer/Connie Braemer Design
Osler Chalet

Fang-Pin Lee/Reich+Petch Design International
Butterflies and Plants, Partners in Evolution

Elaine Cecconi/Cecconi Simone
Private Residence

Sharon Martens/ Martens Group Licensed
Interior Design Studio Ltd.
Pengrowth Corporation

Dean Matsumoto/Kasian Architecture
Interior Design and Planning Inc.
Kasian Toronto Office

Dean Matsumoto/Kasian Architecture
Interior Design and Planning Inc.
Touchdown Area

Attilio Labriola/Norr Limited
Architects and Engineers
Renfrew County Courthouse Renovation and Addition

Francy Thorne/Parkin Architects
Sick Kids, Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit

Kelly Cray/Chapman Design Group
Liberty Market Lofts

George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg/Yabu Pushelberg
The Hazelton Hotel

Keith Rushbrook/II by IV Design Associates Inc.
Hotel Novotel Montreal Aeroport

Karen Currie/GHA Design Studios
Piggly Wiggly

Joe Cho/J. Cho Design Inc.
Mizuki Grill Teriyaki

Bryan Chartier/Core Architects Inc.

Clayton Budd/64th and Queen

Bryan Chartier/Core Architects Inc.
Cabbagetown Coach House

Anna Simone/Cecconi Simone
Carport and Green Roof

Fenwick Bonnell/Powell and Bonnell
Toronto Residence

Tania Bortolotto/Bortolotto Design Architecture Inc.
Bortolotto Studio

Ellen Roland/IBI Group
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Christopher Wright/figure3
Allsteel Canadian Showroom

Caroline Hughes/figure3
Air Miles Reward Program

Sharon Martens/Martens Group Licensed
Interior Design Studio Ltd.
Pengrowth Corporation 

ARIDO is the Association of Registered Interior Designers in Ontario. ARIDO’s mandate is to serve the interests of both the public and the interior design industry. It does so by registering Interior Designers who voluntarily meet required standards of education, experience and examination. For more information on ARIDO, please visit

To view this year’s gallery, please click here.