Things to Do at the Seattle Design Festival 2023

A huge art and design party 🎉

📸: SDF: “Giggle Prism”

📅 Saturday, August 19th – Thursday, August 24th
🎟 Free – $25

It doesn’t feel like summer to me until the Seattle Design Festival (SDF) activates Seattle. For the 2023 edition of the festival, SDF has invited local designers to create work around the theme of “curiosity.” Namely, curiosity about what Seattle could look like in the future. “How can design help our communities thrive?” they ask. “What if we see the city from different perspectives?” 

The fest is sprawling, made up of IRL parties and virtual talks

Here’s how it breaks down for 2023.


📸: SDF

📅 Saturday, August 19th – Sunday, August 20th
⏰ 10 am – 7 pm
📍 Lake Union Park: 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle
🎟 Free

You can check out different designers’ answers to that curiosity question at SDF’s free two-day block party at Lake Union Park. This party is what most people think of when they hear “Seattle Design Festival,” and more than 60 installations make up this year’s fest. Among them: LMN ArchitectsCoughlin Porter Lundeen, and Berger Partnership have teamed up to create “Giggle Prism,” a mirrored, fractal sculpture that changes as you move around it. “Unfold” is a “pavillion installation” presented by Perkins&Will and GLY Construction that takes inspiration from sailboats around Lake Union with an undulating ceiling installation. And you can figure out how your lungs work with Yasir Al-Tameemi’s large-scale sculpture, “What is in my LUNGS?” Pop-ups will also be scattered throughout the park, from a Vera Project music stage to a screen printing station

Find the whole installation line-up here.


📸: SDF

📅 Monday, August 21st – Wednesday, August 23rd
⏰ 5:30 – 7:30 pm
📍 Pratt Fine Arts Center: 1902 South Main St, Seattle
📍 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center: North, 440 5th Avenue, Seattle
📍 Seattle Architecture Foundation: 1010 Western Ave, Seattle
🎟 Free

After the two-day block party, SDF is hosting three days of mixers at Pratt Fine Arts Center (Monday, August 21st), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center (Tuesday, August 22nd), and Seattle Architecture Foundation (Wednesday, August 23rd). Each is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The mixers are free, but reservations are required


📸: SDF

📅 Monday, August 21st – Wednesday, August 23rd
⏰ Various times
📍 Virtual
🎟 Free

The festival hosts a virtual mainstage on its YouTube channel, featuring video shorts and talks centered around curiosity. Here’s the line-up from SDF.

⏰ Monday, August 21st
Archiving People and Place Through Printed Ephemera – Presented by Curious Publishing
Explore how cultural narratives are amplified and archived by radical-self expression through zine and print making with Curious Publishing.

The Light We Seek | a multi-dimensional collaboration – Presented by Future Arts
Hear about the process of making an interdisciplinary project with cutting edge technologies. 

⏰ Tuesday, August 22nd
Cultivating Empathy For Our Teammates – Presented by Dan Hiester
Seasoned designers know soft skills are important, and studies show psychological safety encourages innovation, but putting this into practice is often surprisingly hard. This talk will give you some tools to feed your curiosity, so you can see your teammates in a more empathetic light.

Social Housing Developer: A Call to Action – Presented by AIA Seattle Committee on Homelessness, House Our Neighbors!, and RealChange
City of Seattle citizens voted yes on I-135 to implement a Social Housing Developer, but what does that really mean and how does it affect the city’s development strategies?

⏰ Wednesday, August 23rd
Conversation about Office-to-Residential Conversion Visions for Seattle Downtown City of Seattle – Presented by Office of Planning and Community Development
Rico Quirindongo, Director, Seattle Office of Planning & Community Development speaks with winners of Seattle’s Call for Ideas: Office-to-Residential Conversion competition to share their proposals.

Get Curious about Senior Cohousing! – Presented by Queena Stone, AIA Seattle Travel Scholarship Recipient
No one can predict the future, but anyone can shape it – So let’s inspire people to rethink the way we live / age and discover how shared living /cohousing can help solve some of our biggest challenges.


📸: SDF

📅 Thursday, August 24th
⏰ 5:30 – 8:30 pm
📍 The Collective: 400 Dexter Ave N ste. #100, Seattle
🎟 $25

Close out the fest on Thursday, August 24th at The Collective, a social club in South Lake Union, with DJs, light bites, pool, and an open bar


An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.

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