By Aimee Chanthadavong

A number of retail designs across the country have been shortlisted for the Australian Interior Design Awards, which acknowledges and celebrates the best in Australian residential and commercial interior design.

In its eighth year, the awards received 499 entries with retail, residential and hospitality projects remaining strong. Some retail entries were from Akin Creative, Westfield Design and Construction, Ryan Russell for Russell & George and Greg Natale Design.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Joanne Cys, jury convenor, University of South Australia associate professor interior architecture and Design Institute of Australia immediate past national president, said the interior fitout of a retail store is important because it can reinforce a brand, draw people into the store and help create brand and store experience.

“There’s a fairly strong influence this year’s entries in the experimental and in making use of interior elements that absolutely fit perfectly with the brand,” she said.

“The shortlisted entries were relevantly small fitouts for start-up business or relatively new business, which is just fantastic for new business because the interior design skills can help reinforce their place in the market. There was also a much more experimental approach to the type of material and elements that were used and which again work really well to reinforce the product that is being sold,” she said.

The Australian Interior Design Awards is a not-for-profit event. Projects eligible for 2011 gongs were completed between 1 September 2009 and 31 December 2010.

The official announcement and presentation of overall winners will take place at the Peninsula in Melbourne on Friday 15 April, 2011.