Design New England - Design Showdown

Design Showdown 2018

Design Showdown is a competition in which design students are challenged to imagine a live/work space that combines innovative design, functionality, and elements of social responsibility. It is free and open to students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in interior design or interior architecture at an educational institution in New England. Each submission must be original work created by an individual student. A panel of design professionals will judge the competition, which will be conducted in two rounds (see below for details). Design Showdown is a collaboration among Design New England magazine and the Boston Design Center and the American Society of Interior Designers’ New England chapter.

Design Showdown 2017 from BG BrandLab on Vimeo.

How to Enter

To register, complete the form below.

Registered entrants will receive notification via email when the floor plans, elevations, and photos for the project go live after November 1. Next, follow the instructions for Round 1 and send your entry to by February 25, 2018.

Round 1

Floor plans and elevations will be available after November 1 and can be downloaded here. Follow the instructions for Round 1 and send your entry to by February 25, 2018.

Create and define a client or clients who will be occupying the live/work space outlined in the floor plans and elevations. This is an actual two-level unit at 328 Newbury Street, Boston. Include your client's profession, age, gender, and some non-work interests that would influence the design requirements. For example, your client may be a 50-year-old male photographer who is opening a studio and is an avid home baker. Or maybe you are designing for a married couple in their 20s, who are opening a pet grooming salon, have two dogs of their own, and practice yoga. There is no budget requirement for this project.

Students can arrange work/live space however they choose as long as they stay within the confines of the floor plans. They may relocate the unit entrance door to each level as they see fit to facilitate their ideas. Holes can be cut in the floor to facilitate the addition of stairs, double height spaces, etc.

Any level people sleep on must have at least 1 full bath. All spaces should be accessible to people with disabilities BUT no elevator, ramp, or lift will be required to move from floor to floor. Fireplaces should be assumed to be operable via alternative fuels (such as alcohol) but are NOT wood burning.

In addition to the client profile, your entry should include a brief description (300 words or less) of the major elements of your design and how they meet the contest criteria. Please also include related floor plans, elevations, and other drawings in a single PDF format of no more than 5 pages labeled with your name, school, degree program and anticipated graduation date, email address, and phone number. Please include all contact information on each page of the PDF.


Send your PDF file or any questions to by February 25, 2018.


Our judges will be looking for inspiration, functionality, and creativity in a strong, well-executed proposal. Applicants will be evaluated on innovative thinking (40%), effective space planning/functionality (30%), and social consciousness (e.g. universal, sustainable design; 30%).

Round 2

Applicants chosen by the judges to advance to Round 2 will be notified no later than March 2, 2018. These finalists will be asked to refine and expand their project plans and submit them by March 26, 2018. They will also have the opportunity to “shop” the Boston Design Center with a guide from ASID.

The Pitch

Round 2 finalists will pitch their expanded proposals in front of peers, potential future employers, industry professionals, prospective clients, and editors at the esteemed Boston Design Center as part of Boston Design Week on Friday evening April 6, 2018. All finalists’ entries will be displayed at the event and the winners will have their project published in Design New England magazine's September/October 2018 issue.

In addition to criteria outlined in Round 1, the judges will base their evaluations on the strength of individual presentations.

Students, now is the time to put your best pitch forward!