I “MET” ED SOZINHO and his wife, Darlene, via FaceTime in early May. Ed graciously flipped around his phone and “walked me through” his family’s fabulous Broadview home, and that, ladies and gentlemen, concluded our “tour.”
As you perhaps picked up from all those quarantine-era quote marks, this was not standard procedure, and certainly not ideal, but it was workable, and terrifically helpful and accommodating, and it still counts as “connection,” so yay: Seattleites sure are adaptable.
So is Seattle design.
The Seattle Design Festival turns 10: a Q&A on its origins, its influence — and its flexibility
The last couple of years, we’ve profiled specially selected residential projects to illustrate the themes of the annual Seattle Design Festival (Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing for the 2018 theme, “Trust,” and Hood Cliff Retreat for “Balance” in 2019), and we’re featuring the Sozinhos’ home this week for the same purpose.
Not much else, though, is the same.
This year’s festival — the milestone 10th — which typically would draw more than 30,000 in-person people a year, is still on the calendar (Aug. 15-23), but everything has been, shall we say, redesigned: The traditional, festival-level-festive Block Party and Neighborhood Spotlights have been canceled, in favor of much safer and equally creative digital programming, virtual installations and exhibitions, and remote experiences.
The 2020 theme, “About Time,” marches on, although instead of “pondering past, present and future at a unique moment of transition for the city, the region and the world,” according to a news release from AIA Seattle and Design in Public, which presents the festival, the theme now will “confront the reality of a global public health crisis and its profound impact on our daily lives.”
The Sozinhos’ home reflects both iterations of that theme: It was designed with a careful, well-trained eye toward sustainability, easy maintenance and aging in place, and it is where the couple and their 10-year-old daughter now work, learn — and spend a whole lot of time, together. Plus, it really is a fabulous, personalized family home, even from one not-quite-ideal end of an iPhone.
“One thing I am loving about this time is how we are being forced to be human and imperfect with each other,” says Lisa Richmond, executive director of AIA Seattle and founder of the festival. “I love getting on Zoom meetings and seeing colleagues’ artwork and bookshelves and kids and dogs in the background. In this way, architecture is part of our human storytelling. Most of us experience architecture most powerfully through our own homes, and home is now so very important.”
Home, as always, is where everything hits us (it’s where our hearts are, after all), and what grounds us. FaceTime tours, digital programming and online festivals are not perfect. But they connect us, and they prove and encourage our ability to adapt — personally, and through design.