DesignTO Awards

The DesignTO Awards recognize design excellence.

We are pleased to announce the 9th annual DesignTO Awards presented by Herman Miller.

The DesignTO Awards recognize design excellence at the DesignTO Festival, Canada’s leading and largest annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making. Featuring the work of hundreds of designers each year, the Festival showcases locally made furniture, lighting, products, graphic and experiential design, interiors and architecture, accessories, ceramics, and more. The festival emphasizes collaboration and the expression of personal values and identities through the creative process. The DesignTO Awards celebrates the talent, expression, and diversity of designers from Toronto and abroad.

The DesignTO Awards were established in 2013 with iconic design brand Herman Miller. For more than 100 years, Herman Miller has been a leader in design, collaborating with many of the pioneers of modern design, including Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and George Nelson. They continue to work with leading-edge designers such as Studio 7.5, Ayse Birsel, and Yves Béhar. Herman Miller places great importance on design, the environment, community service, and the health and wellbeing of its customers and employees. Its mission is to create inspiring designs to help people do great things.

For DesignTO’s 10th anniversary in 2020, DIALOG joined Herman Miller to present the Awards program, with a specific focus on their Community Wellbeing Framework: a methodology to help design professionals understand the impact of their work on community wellbeing. DIALOG is a multi-disciplinary practice with a passion for design. They believe that design can meaningfully improve the wellbeing of our communities and the environment we all share.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that 2021 DesignTO Festival participants who wish to be considered for an Award submit an application to the jury. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 5, 2021.

Vote for your favourites in four People’s Choice categories by February 1, 2021.

Best in Festival: Exhibition

Curated by Jamie Wolfond & MSDS Studio

This award recognizes the jury’s selection for the best exhibition. Criteria for this award is at jury discretion.

Best in Festival: New Work

by Mia Cinelli

This award recognizes the jury’s selection for the best design, object, installation, or artwork across all festival events and exhibitions.

Best in Festival: Community Wellbeing

by OCAD U Industrial Design students

Guided by the Community Wellbeing Framework, this award is given by a diverse jury of DIALOG staff who are experts in the field.

Juror's Choice for Community Wellbeing

by Interdisciplinary Design Strategy Students at George Brown College, School of Design

This award is given by individual jurors for their favourite in any category, including events, exhibitions, window installations, concepts and individual works in the festival.

People’s Choice: Favourite New Work

by Apoorva Varma

This award for a favourite design, object, installation, or artwork, across all festival events and exhibitions, is determined by public vote.

People’s Choice: Favourite Exhibition

This award for favourite exhibition is determined by public vote.

People’s Choice: Favourite Event

by Daily Goods Design LABS

This award for favourite event is determined by public vote.

People’s Choice: Favourite Window Installation

by Raymond Girard

This award for favourite window installation is determined by public vote.

People’s Choice: Community Wellbeing

by Diana Guzmán Valencia

Guided by the Community Wellbeing Framework, this award for favourite project is determined by public vote.

Juror’s Choice Awards

anahita azrahimi
Heather Dubbeldam
Jaime Muszynski
Chris Rowe
Yaw Tony

How the Awards work

DesignTO recognizes design excellence in the Festival each year, in three categories: Best in Festival, Juror’s Choice, and People’s Choice, granting up to 21 DesignTO Awards. A jury of design practitioners vote for awards in two “Best in Festival” categories and for three “Juror’s Choice” each, while the public votes for four “People’s Choice” awards.

Awardees are celebrated through DesignTO’s extensive media network, an Awards reception, and with iconic Herman Miller design pieces as prizes.*
Look for the Awards placards in venue windows and beside works throughout the Festival.

*Note that prizes are given for certain awards, not for all awards types.

Eligibility Criteria

Jurors can consider any Festival project for an award. A selection of exhibitions and installations will be visited in person on jury day. During the pandemic, the jurors will convene online.

2021 DesignTO Awards Jury

This year’s jurors are Stephanie Hosein, Associate, Omar Gandhi Architect Inc.; Zviko Mhakayakora, curator, creative manager and graphic designer; Nadira Narine, glass artist and designer; and Chris Rowe, Collection Sales Lead, Herman Miller Canada.