Yes, our collective sense of what is normalcy is changing on a daily basis, and like a good chunk of the world, the WL team is social distancing and working from our home offices/kitchen tables right now. But we’re here, and we’ll continue celebrating the best of Western Canadian designers and makers with the coming WL Designers of the Year Awards.

The following are the top-tier judges who we’re thrilled to have come on board for this year’s Furniture Designer of the Year judging panel. Enter your work now: the deadline for DOTY 2020 is April 1. 

Wendy Youds, Article

As VP of Product and Merchandising at Article, Wendy leads the product and merchandising team to build a product catalog that customers love and meets the unique needs of their space.

Prior to joining Article, Wendy was Senior Director of Product Design and Production for MEC, leading their private label in-house design and production functions. At MEC, Wendy led the design evolution of the label’s new apparel and gear collections from concept to delivery. 

Over the last 20 years, Wendy has worked internationally for a number of recognized global brands including Lululemon, Dr Martens and NEXT Retail, covering a variety of product categories such as furniture and homeware, apparel, accessories, footwear, and equipment.

Wendy has a diploma in leisure and business studies from Tresham College, a BFA from Wellingborough College and is a graduate of UBC Sauder School of Business. When not working, her two kids and husband keep her extremely busy with activities on the North Shore. Family time and downtime is typically spent at home, curled up with a good book, a movie, restoring an old piece of furniture or pretending to be a chef.  

Ross Bonetti, Livingspace Interiors

Ross Bonetti is founder and President of Livingspace Interiors, a Vancouver-based specialty retailer of European modern furniture, kitchens, closets and bathrooms. An entrepreneur from an early age, the concept for Livingspace was inspired by Ross's life long appreciation for modern design, and the desire to create a unique, approachable and customer-centric retail environment catering to the interior design community.

He is central to crafting and maintaining the company's culture, shaping the design aesthetic, and innovating future growth opportunities. Ross also serves in a retail advisory role to a number of major brands that the company represents. As an advocate of IDCBC, Ross encourages and supports work placement opportunities for students of interior design at major universities and colleges in British Columbia. And, in conjunction with Emily Carr University, Ross helped establish the Livingspace Industrial Design Scholarship, which is awarded annually to students of the University's Industrial Design Program.

In addition to his responsibilities at Livingspace, Ross is also President of Livingspace Homes, a turn key residential construction company, which provides Clients a fully integrated suite of products and services – from design concept, to construction, to kitchens, bathrooms, closets and furnishings.

Kate Duncan, Furniture Designer and Maker

It was in a junior high school shop class in Port Alberni, B.C., that Kate Duncan fell in love with woodwork. Fast forward 25 years, through a myriad of furniture and woodworking endeavours, Duncan can now be found in her Toronto-based studio crafting each piece by hand utilizing traditional joinery techniques and sustainably harvested hardwoods. Drawing inspiration from Brutalist Architecture, her latest body of work is large in scope and scale. Not content to just focus on her own practice, in 2014 Duncan founded Address Design Show an inclusive annual exhibit that promotes both well-established and up-and-coming creatives. Heading into its 8th consecutive year, this widely recognized exhibit has featured hundreds of designers, makers and artists from all across North America. Duncan was named Western Living's Furniture Designer of the Year in 2017.