Sarah's 2019 Seattle Design Festival Picks

photo by Trevor Dykstra

photo by Trevor Dykstra

Starting August 16th, Design in Public and over 100 partners will host events and installations in dozens of venues across greater Seattle for thousands of visitors!

The annual Seattle Design Festival is the region’s largest design event, bringing together a wide range of individuals and organizations from the public, arts, architecture, design, urban planning, education, advocacy, and technology, to inform and inspire an interdisciplinary public dialogue around the role of design in inspiring, holding back, maintaining, and enhancing the quality of life in Seattle. We strive to connect design to the public and the public to design – what we’re incubating in Seattle is not designers on pedestals, but design for everyone. Watch a short video about the Seattle Design Festival here.

Sarah has been on the organizing committee for the Seattle Design Festival for the last six years, and now serves on the board of the festivals’ presenting non-profit, Design in Public.

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The ninth annual Seattle Design Festival’s ten days of provocative design events and installations explore the theme of BALANCE, asking:

+ What is the role of design to mitigate our impact on the planet and achieve greater natural balance?

+ How can design thinking foster a society that balances the needs of all its people and the planet?

+ Can design help us achieve personal balance and live our best lives?


Please join me in showing up, reaching out, and examining the role of design thinking in building BALANCE in our lives, work, and communities. Please share with others who may be interested.








Design in the Parks

@ Lake Union Park + Waterfront Park

Longer-term installations in some of Seattle’s most famous parks bring design to a wider public audience!


Friday, Aug 16

Opening Party!

@ JW Architects (suggested donation)

Because who doesn’t want to go to a party?


Saturday, Aug 17

Capitol Hill Design Crawl

Explore neighborhood identity through a series of design-related events! Stop by Schemata Workshop as the hub for the crawl’s scavenger hunt while also exploring Seattle Planning Commission’s Neighborhoods For All exhibit.


Monday, Aug 19

Design Discussion: Living in Harmony with the Things We Create

@ DLR Group

This panel will explore how Microsoft has been working on envisioning and implementing new ways for human beings to achieve balance with both Nature and Technology.


Tuesday, Aug 20

Community Engagement and Civic Transformation

@ DLR Group

A conversation with three women leaders in the built environment on how their investments in cultural convening and community space-making provide lessons for how we might further catalyze Seattle’s communities of color to be in control of their own destinies.


Wednesday, Aug 21

[Im]Balance: Responding to Inequity by Building Compassionate Communities

@ Gates Foundation

Hear about how Architects Without Borders Seattle (AWB) and The BLOCK Project have partnered to build communities of compassion throughout Seattle, engaging individuals and their neighborhoods to welcome someone experiencing homelessness into their lives. 


Wednesday, Aug 21

SODO Track Tour

Join 4Culture’s Public Art Director Kelly Pajek for a walking tour of SODO Track! The SODO Track has transformed the portal to Downtown Seattle – a two-mile transit corridor traveled by over 50,000 daily – into a free and accessible urban art gallery exhibiting the work of over 60 artists from 20 countries who visually explore the themes of motion, speed and progress. 


Wednesday, Aug 21

Recycling the Beauty of Puget Sound

@ Atlas Workbase

The Seattle 2030 District and Boeing welcome you to explore how we can recycle the beauty of Puget Sound to make Seattle more resilient and sustainable – specifically through a design competition that highlights innovative ways to capture rainwater and reuse it in building operations. Come learn how we can transform our buildings to act as trees and help Seattle operate as its natural ecosystem.


Thursday, Aug 22

Georgetown Design Crawl

Spend this summer evening visiting open studios, exhibits, and participatory design interventions – and an after-party at Photon Factory – that are meant to activate and celebrate the neighborhood! The crawl hub, Ten Penny Studio, will be exploring the concept of Home: A Counterbalance with an exhibit, interactive art activity, and performance.


Saturday, Aug 24 – Sunday, Aug 25

Main Event: Block Party

@ Lake Union Park (new location)

As a perennial favorite event, the two-day street fair celebrates the powerful ways design affects our lives. Featuring over 40 large-scale installations, performances, and interactive design activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.


Saturday, Aug 24

Language of Aroma

@ Center for Architecture + Design

Aroma has the power to enhance the human experience. Join TEALEAVES and Microsoft Design for a documentary screening followed by an inclusive design workshop that discusses how the principles of inclusive design, and what we know about language can deepen our understanding of this forgotten sense.


Sunday, Aug 25

The Garden of Secrets

@ Northwest Film Forum

Join UBC Botanical Gardens and TEALEAVES, along with a series of industry experts, for a screening of The Garden of Secrets documentary. The screening will be followed by an intimate conversation with leading experts on biomimicry and biophilia and how designs inspired by the natural world strike the perfect balance between innovation and environmental respect, contributing to the betterment of humanity and a greener future.