Let me tell you something about the folks who design our city's best high-rises, most dynamic retail environments, and inspiring corporate interiors: Their secret lives involve highly theatrical performance art, over-the-top couture, and surrealist ideas about carpet membrane and cubical partitions.

On Friday, May 3 at Showbox SoDo Seattle's top architecture and design firms gathered for this year's Product Runway showcase and competed for top honors in a contest that combines Project Runway with Iron Chef (more or less) for a night of unusual materials and runway finery.

Check out runway looks created by top architecture and design firms for the May 3 Product Runway event at Showbox SoDo.
Image: Ernie Sapiro

Before you check out our  slide show for a peak at each firm's looks and the night's big winners, keep in mind that these wild looks are worn by the architects and designers themselves. Each team picks a model from within their ranks; he or she might be a designer, a marketing manager, or a floor sample rep but inside, they're really expressive off-Broadway entertainers just waiting to be discovered. Same goes for the show's organizers and set designers.

Which is to say: the people who build Seattle (and in some cases, the rest of the world) also put on a really good runway show.