GRAY’s 2018 design pitch competition kicks off in Portland

by GRAY Editors

Event photos by Ian Whitmore

HOT NEW NEXT is a dynamic design pitch competition that plays out in front of a live audience. The series consists three preliminary rounds, with the winner of each moving on to the finals where one contestant will emerge as the design champion of the year! Preliminaries are held this year in Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle. The final round will be held this September on the GRAY stage at the Interior Design Show in the Vancouver Convention Centre West.


The 2018 HOT NEW NEXT series kicked off on April 16 during Design Week Portland. Design Within Reach hosted 150 guests for the first preliminary round. Guests mingled in the showroom and sipped Browne Family Vineyard wines and snacked on Portlandia gourmet popcorn to the musical stylings of DJ Gregarious. We raffled off a $250 gift certificate to Crosswater restaurant courtesy of Chown Hardware, and an Eames Hang-It-All, courtesy of Design Within Reach.

Then, five pre-selected designers pitched their compelling new design-related concept or product to our esteemed panel of judges and live audience, covering the overall concept, business plan, marketing, manufacturing, sales viability, and more ... all in 2 minutes or less, and then endured a series of rapid-fire questions from judges.

The judging panel (from left): Liz Boscacci, buyer and product developer for Design Within Reach; marketing and communications pro Amy Golden, co-owner of Paxson Fay; Kim Kovel, Nike’s senior material and color innovator; entrepreneur and business consultant Linda Lowry; and sales guru Jeffrey Valles of