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D&M Students Take Home Best Window Design Award

D&M Storefront Winners

October 11, 2018

The Drexel University Design & Merchandising (D&M) program participated in the 2018 Storefront Challenge, their third year submitting designs for the contest and taking home Best Window Design. The Storefront Challenge is a citywide contest created by the Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce to recognize design excellence in storefront façade improvements and to support investment in the revitalization of neighborhood commercial corridors. This October celebrates the 10th anniversary of the program, with Mayor Jim Kenny in attendance during the awards ceremony.

Philadelphians were invited to nominate the best of Philly’s storefront façade improvement projects over the past two years. There were over 75 entries and 10 awards that honored storefront improvement. D&M’s visual merchandising class has been working with Philadelphia community corridors for over 20 years to design and enhance store windows. This collaboration pairs students with local business owners and a modest budget to design and install a new window display. Taking home the Window Display Award this year was Petit Jardin en Ville, a local floral boutique in Old City. Students Kathryn Dillard, Chengjiang (CJ) Zhu, and Jonathan Willis worked with store owner Claudia Roux to design a window that incorporated fresh flowers, which appropriately filled the space and maintained the brand story. CJ accepted the award on behalf of his group.

The D&M program boasts one of the largest community engagement initiatives in the Westphal College, with over a decade of student-designed visual merchandising displays for the windows of local businesses across Philadelphia. Kristen Ainscoe, D&M professor, divides students into teams that spend the first few weeks of the project negotiating and planning window designs that seek to invite pedestrians in from the streets. Once the concepts are finalized, the teams began installing their designs in store windows. Finally, professors, business owners and community partners critique the installations. This establishes the importance of window design to entice traffic and beautify the neighborhood, one corridor at a time.

In addition to submitting over 25 windows to the contest from the past two years of the community store window project, D&M also created the window design and exhibit celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Storefront Challenge. An exhibition and window display were created at the Center for Architecture and Design, located at 1218 Arch Street. Students in the summer visual merchandising class designed a window dedicated to the commemoration of storefront improvements and how businesses have been changing the face of their neighborhoods. Led by Ainscoe, the window showcased a variety of stores and locations from across Philadelphia with a display of before-and-after photos. The front of the window display shows the ‘after’ design changes and the back of the window displayed shows the ‘before’ images of Storefront Challenge winners throughout the last ten years. Students worked with the Department of Commerce and Community Design Collaborative to include key information and stores chosen for recognition. The window and exhibit are open to the public until Friday, October 26, 2018.

Congratulations to the D&M students who installed the exhibit window: Audrey Baik, Madisen Bellet, Emily Conlon, Evangeline Hala, Mackenzie LeClair, Chaad Patel, Alessandra Phelan, Sasha Rubin, Domari Thomas, and Beatrice Vu.