For design students and young professionals just starting out in the visual merchandising, store planning, or retail design realms, the Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE) can help guide them to future success. After all, the group’s mission is to provide support for newcomers to the industry through workshops, networking events, grants and scholarships, student design competitions, and acknowledgement from industry
veterans for creative successes in the field.
One such acknowledgement is PAVE’s Rising Star Award, a much-coveted
honor that recognizes a budding— 40 years old or younger—retail designer or
visual merchandiser who possesses serious design chops. “It was introduced
to encourage and inspire the young designer who has shown leadership and
vision in the retail design field,” says Nancy Jackson, president of Architectural
Systems, the New York-based distributor of interior finishes. Jackson was
part the 2013 Rising Star judging panel and is an emeritus board member of
the educational foundation.
“It’s always tough to select a winner because the candidates all exemplify
innovative retail design,” Jackson says. “I feel that all of the finalists and the
winner this year are going to have very successful careers in the retail industry.”
PAVE recognizes three up-and-comers in the retail design industry
with its annual Rising Star Award By Lauren Mang
Andrea Buccasso (center), senior designer for 3D environments at FITCH, is the recipient of PAVE’s 2013 Rising Star
Award. The two finalists are: Aimee Taylor (left), Gensler,
and Doug Bunker (right), FRCH Design Worldwide.
Last December, at PAVE’s annual glittering fundraising gala—now in its 17th year—
the Rising Star Award was bestowed upon Andrea Buccasso, a 32-year-old senior
designer of 3D environments at the Columbus, Ohio-based design firm Fitch. “Andrea
is a powerhouse,” says nominator Christian Davies, the firm’s executive creative
director for the Americas. “She is dogmatic in her pursuit of turning out excellent and
powerful design.” As an integral member of the Fitch team responsible for creating a
brand and redefining the in-store environment for high-end kitchen, bath, and outdoor
product retailer Pirch (formerly Fixtures Living), Buccasso wowed with her creative
ideas, collaborative nature, bold decisions and suggestions, lifelike rendering
creation, and material and fabric selections that played a role in the company’s
Costa Mesa, Calif., location attaining LEED Silver status.
The crisp and elegant Pirch showrooms focus on educating and inspiring customers
via “try-before-you-buy” vignettes, meaning a shopper can actually switch on an oven
or fire up a grill. Its design also accommodates large community events, such as movie
nights and cooking demonstrations. “Andrea cross-coordinated with architects of