The Art of Outdoor Living

Patios are a quintessential part of the Canadian design landscape, the perfect place to take in the majesty of our country’s unparalleled natural beauty. Particularly in a post-COVID-19 context, indoor-outdoor spaces and enlarged patios have become a crucial part of our daily routines; not just a boon to our physical health but a sanctuary where days turn seamlessly into nights and every season becomes a reason to celebrate. A well-designed patio can be a sanctuary that nourishes the mind, body, and soul, facilitating the creation of enduring memories that transcend time. 

Celebrating the splendour of the Canadian outdoors and the ways in which design can call attention to and enrich them, this iteration of LIV Design Studio’s Student Design Challenge asks the next generation of interior designers to envision a patio space that facilitates a deeper connection to our surroundings and promotes wellbeing year-round through functional & innovative design, with selected participants presenting their ideas with the help of augmented-reality (AR) technology. 

Students are challenged to envision a 188 sq. ft. patio design for all-season use. The space should be multi-functional, accommodating basic functions such as entertaining and individual work, while also allowing for additional uses throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to use outdoor, weatherproof materials and incorporate elements of indoor-outdoor living where possible. 

Three finalists will be selected by our judges panel to have their designs adapted into an AR experience by the LIV Design CG team for IDS Toronto 2024. Finalists and placements will be determined by the judges based on the following criteria: design concept, creativity, lighting, functionality, base building, and materials/finishes & colour scheme. The people’s choice award winner will be decided based on voting from the general public, who will view and interact with each augmented-reality design at IDS Toronto 2024. Both the final placements and people’s choice award will be revealed onstage at IDS Toronto on January 21st, 2024. 


Update: Submission window now closed.

Submissions will open Wednesday, June 21st, 2023 and must be received no later than Sunday, September 17th, 2023. We’ll announce and contact our top 3 finalists October 11th. The 3 finalists will be given the opportunity to showcase their designs in AR (Augmented Reality) at IDS Toronto 2024, taking place January 18-21. Final placement will be decided by our panel of expert judges.  Throughout the course of the event, participants will also be able to vote for their favourite design, with the result determining the winner of our new ‘people’s choice award. Both awards will be presented on-stage at IDS Toronto 2024 on January 21st.

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Meet Our Finalists

Emily Peterson | The Arbor

The Arbor is a meticulously designed urban retreat that elegantly harmonizes with the changing seasons, offering a protective haven in the bustling city. Its custom-built arbor and curvilinear design elements pay tribute to nature’s cyclical beauty and create a tranquil atmosphere through lush greenery and airy fabric. This multifunctional space seamlessly connects indoor and outdoor living, providing both solitude and socialization while celebrating the pleasures of nature and the changing seasons.

Cali Pitcher | Ataraxia
Georgian College

Ataraxia, inspired by serene calmness, reimagines a small patio into a versatile space for gatherings, work, and tranquility. Rooted in Zen garden philosophy and a commitment to nature, it seamlessly blends leisure, meditation, and productivity. With universal adaptability, Ataraxia reconnects urban dwellers with the outdoors, enhancing well-being and making it a cherished addition to any home.

Saiqa Javid Shaikh | Split Peak
LaSalle College Vancouver

Introducing Split Peak: Patio, a seamless blend of Canadian wilderness and modern living. Inspired by Canada’s majestic mountains, this innovative design features modular units with adaptable layouts, connecting through symbolic rods, while reclaimed materials evoke the essence of the outdoors. The patio offers an immersive experience that effortlessly transitions between indoor and outdoor living, embracing nature’s wonders within the comforts of contemporary design.


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First (1st) place: $8000, second (2nd) $4000, third (3rd) place $2000, people’s choice (IDS attendee vote) $1000


Present your work to a vast audience of over 42,000 attendees in the interior design community through a booth and augmented reality (AR) technology at IDS Toronto 2024.


Students are challenged to envision a 188 sq. ft. patio design for all-season use. The space should be multi-functional, accommodating basic functions such as entertaining and individual work, while also allowing for additional uses throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to use outdoor, weatherproof materials and incorporate elements of indoor-outdoor living where possible.

Submissions must include the following deliverables:  

1. Concept Write Up (~500 words)

2. Mood Board

3. Concept Sketch or Rendering

4. Floor Plan (including FF&E, and any applicable lighting layout and custom constructed elements)

5. Critical Detail(s) / Other Constraints

6. Optional (elevation if required)

Other Criteria:

  • Must be currently enrolled in or a 2023/2024 graduate of a licensed interior design program at a Canadian post-secondary institution. 
  • Must be submitted individually or in groups up to a maximum of 3 people (everyone in the group must be from the same institution) 

*Note: If you participated in the 2022 LIV Design Student Challenge please note “Yes” in the registration pop-up to receive updated criteria.


Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges from the interior design industry. This year’s panel of judges reflects the diverse perspectives of the Canadian design community, representing a multitude of disciplines and approaches to interior design.

Olivia Lam
Principal, LIV Design Studio

Jeremy Vandermeij
Executive Director, Co-founder, DesignTO

Julia Bray
Co-founder, Garden Connections Inc.

Lisa Barnes
Freelance, Lisa Barnes Communications

Brandon Gaston
Senior Digital Content Strategist, Gray Magazine

Entry Submission

Completed entries can be filled out and submitted using the form below. Entries are to be submitted no later than September 17, 2023, at 11:59pm PT. Please direct any questions regarding your submission to with the subject line “Student Challenge”. 

IDS Toronto 2024

IDS is Canada’s premier showcase of new products and furniture, superstar designers and avant-garde concepts from North America and beyond. Taking place from January 18-21, IDS Toronto 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of this landmark event for the interior design industry, and celebrates Canadian design and the evolution of designers who have partnered with IDS since day one.  

LIV Design Studio is proud to once again participate in this year’s in-person event with a booth showcasing the work of Canadian interior design students through an exciting AR experience with voting from the public to determine People’s Choice. We invite you to visit our Booth at IDS Toronto 2024 to learn more and experience our top 3 finalists’ design concepts in AR.  

Voting for the People’s Choice Award opens on January 18 and concludes on January 21 at 12:00 p.m. The final placements, along with the People’s Choice Award winner, will be announced during the Award Ceremonytaking place January 21 at 2:30 p.m. on the IDS Toronto Cosentino Stage.


If you are interested in becoming a Monetary or Material Sponsor for the LIV Design Student Challenge, please get in touch with us at 

Limited opportunities available.


Is it mandatory to attend IDS Toronto 2024 if my design is selected as a finalist?
No, attendance at IDS Toronto 2024 is not mandatory, however we highly recommend attending if able. LIV Design Studio will provide complimentary tickets to IDS Toronto 2024 for all finalists.

I have a question, where can I contact LIV?
For any questions or concerns regarding the Student Challenge, please contact

Thank You to our Sponsors

The LIV Design Studio team would like to give our heartfelt thanks to our sponsors for making the LIV Design Student Challenge possible.

LIV Design Student Challenge Registration Form

Register to receive the complete challenge details along with email reminders and helpful tips.