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Canadian Design Studio Burdifilek Marks 25 Years

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When retailers are looking to establish a unique store experience for their customers, it’s no coincidence that they contact Burdifilek.

Recognized as one of the leading interior design firms, Burdifilek is the mastermind behind some of the most beautiful retail concepts. The Toronto-based studio leads at the forefront of design, bringing an unwavering point of view to creative projects for brands around the world.

“It’s nostalgic to look back on 25 years. In our early days, we spent our meetings educating clients on design and how its impact could change a brand’s trajectory. Design awareness is now ingrained into every aspect of our lives,” says Paul Filek, Managing Partner, who founded the company with Diego Burdi, the studio’s Creative Partner.

Filek and Burdi first connected during their studies at the Ryerson School of Interior Design, yet the decision to launch a studio came during the most unlikely time – during the height of a recession in 1993. Today, the studio of 35 employees has garnered over 150 notable industry awards along the way for their portfolio of work.

(HOLT RENFREW, 50 BLOOR ST. W., TORONTO. PHOTO: BEN RAHN, A-FRAME STUDIO)
(JEWELLERY HALL AT HOLT RENFREW, 50 BLOOR ST. W. IN TORONTO. PHOTO: BEN RAHN, A-FRAME STUDIO) 

“Retail is exciting because it is never complacent. The speed of change has kept us on our toes since day one,” says Burdi, having worked with clients that range from specialty brands like Mackage, Indigo, Hopson Grace, and Club Monaco, to department stores like Holt Renfrew, Neiman Marcus, and The Galleria in Seoul, South Korea.

“We have partnered with a diverse range of brands over the years, but one brand conversation that remains constant is a brand’s desire to be memorable. It’s our job to design a space that stands out above all the other noise and leaves a lasting impact on the consumer. Our projects celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of each brand story,” says Filek.

The physical stores, he says, now become a natural progression of the brand’s platform – whether it’s online or offline.

“A strong, consistent point of view is what will set a brand apart,” advises Filek, as retailers navigate an increasingly competitive landscape.

(DAVID’S SHOES AT 66 BLOOR ST. W. IN TORONTO. PHOTO: BEN RAHN, A-FRAME STUDIO) 
(MACKAGE STORE: BURDIFILEK WON A SIGNIFICANT AWARD FOR ITS DESIGN LAST YEAR. PHOTO: BEN RAHN, A-FRAME STUDIO) 
(THE GALLERIA DEPARTMENT STORE SEOUL: LUXURY HALL WEST.PHOTO: BEN RAHN, A-FRAME STUDIO) 

“We’ve all become very accustomed and well-seasoned with discovering new brands through a digital screen, but the digital experience is very one-dimensional. In a physical space, the emotional connection a consumer can develop with the brand is that much deeper – consumers appreciate the thoughtfulness of a beautifully appointed, well-considered experience.”

It comes as no surprise to both Burdi and Filek when they witness firsthand how effectively consumers connect to a brand’s values through a physical space: “Physical stores have always been the most engaging platform to romance consumers. This was true 25 years ago, and it remains true today. 25 years from now, stores will still be relevant.”

*Images provided by Burdifilek through NKPR Inc.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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