Full-circle curiosity motivates Bassetti Architects both within the office and outside in our greater Seattle and Pacific Northwest communities. Excited to participate in and sponsor the Seattle Design Festival for another year, the design team is approaching this year’s installation with inquisitiveness and an open mind. Challenging visitors to investigate the elemental blocks of Seattle and build a future we can all be proud of, users will view a collage of experiences through Bassetti’s installation “CurioCITY: A Vision of Seattle’s Future.”
Last year’s theme of CONNECTION extended beyond the festival grounds for Bassetti. With some luminous modifications, their installation, Common Threads, was given new life at the Portland Winter Lights Festival and used again at the Northwest Youths Career Expo in Portland to engage students and the community. With a focus on found and reused items, materials from Bassetti’s past installation will live on in Bassetti’s 2023 SDF installation.
Made up of architects, interior designers, and marketing staff, the Bassetti SDF team is ready to get curious. Hear from a few of the team members:
Deidrie K (she/her) | Interior Designer
Food Grower-Cooker-Lover, World Traveler, Soccer Fanatic, Dog Lover, Hiker, Paddler, Plant Nerd: I worked as a landscape designer for 10 years in Minnesota and New Jersey for design-build firms as well as my own design services company. While I loved so many aspects of being a landscape designer, I did not love the seasonal extremes (especially in Minnesota) of having zero free time in the summer and absolutely nothing to do in the winter. I decided to get another degree in Interior Design in hopes of a more balanced schedule throughout the calendar year. I have now been working as an interior designer for architecture firms specializing in K-12 schools for the past eight years. Design is a good fit for me because it allows me to use both sides of my brain, generating creative ideas to solve technical problems. Architecture is a team sport, and having played team sports most of my life, I find great satisfaction in doing my part to contribute to a team’s success in accomplishing its goals.
Shanmathi Mageshwar (she/her) | Architectural Designer
Foodie (particularly a hot chocolate and cheesecake food critic), not so great (but trying hard) plant mom, animal lover who really wants a pet but has a small apartment, and collector of random, cute, and quirky things. I grew up in Portland and moved to Seattle two years ago. I have always been interested in design and decided to become an architect when I was 12 years old. I got my bachelor’s in architecture at the University of Oregon and started working here at Bassetti Architects after graduation to design K-12 schools, which was my dream job. My favorite parts about architecture and design are that it can be a very collaborative process, exploring new ideas, and finding creative and beautiful solutions.
Jordyn Aden (she/her) | Interior Designer
Likes: animals, trivia, soccer, tea, ocean/lake activities. Dislikes: when a shark appears out of nowhere in a movie, couscous. I am a Washington native, but somewhat new to the Seattle area. I grew up in Olympia, where I discovered tree climbing and developed my love for creativity and storytelling. Now, I spend a lot of my time working on projects in the K-12 realm of interior design and architecture. It was my hope to get involved in education design after graduating last year, and I’m thankful that I was able to. Something that really interests me is human health and the impact that the design community can have.
Leah Wilcox (she/her) | Marketing Coordinator
I like fresh flowers, walks, and well-worded sentences. New to the PNW, I have enjoyed exploring the City of Seattle, trying new restaurants, and learning about the beautiful landscape. On the weekends, you can find me swimming, at the farmers market, or trying the cute new coffee shop up the street. With a background in copywriting, marketing, and business, I spend my time at Bassetti Architects writing proposals, supporting events and outreach, and exploring the built environment of Seattle and Portland. I enjoy the variety of tasks architecture marketing provides and the ever-evolving subject matter which informs my writing.
CURIOSITY in design is…
Deidrie K (DK): asking “what if” and collaborating with others to brainstorm potential answers so that what might initially seem like an idea from outer space can ultimately lead to a successful solution.
Shanmathi Mageshwar (SM): seeking out issues that can be resolved and exploring a variety of solutions. Rather than stopping at the first solution, curiosity is considering how to refine it and finding the best answer.
Leah Wilcox (LW): approaching life with the willingness to learn. Curiosity can lead to stronger connections, a new way of thinking, and finding joy in everyday things.
How does design influence CURIOSITY?
DK: Design sparks the continuation of the “what if” question – it can be perceived in different ways by different people, and its fluidity can result in a multitude of ideas.
Jordyn Aden (JA): I think curiosity and design have a symbiotic relationship, and perhaps, without one, we would not have the other. Design influences and nurtures curiosity by providing a platform for creativity, expression, and improvement.
How do you use CURIOSITY in your work?
DK: To solve design problems! “How do these materials interact with each other?” “What if we try this?” “Let’s test what would happen if we did that?”
LW: Curiosity is a wonderful starting point for marketing. If it piques your curiosity, there is probably a story there! I use this as a jumping-off point for exploration, storytelling, and education.
Who or what inspires you?
DK: My husband, my mom, and my friends inspire me to be a better person. My co-workers and our clients inspire me to be a better designer.
JA: Knowing that the built environment has a significant influence on human health and the climate pushes me to learn more and try to be a part of the solution.
LW: The outdoors, experiencing life with my friends and family, creating connections, and working to uplift others.
My favorite thing about my city is…
DK: The smell of the sparkling sea on a sunny blue day.
SM: The parks. My favorites are Gas Works and the Arboretum.
JA: The access to water! I love the ocean.
LW: The fact that you can be out on the water and in the city simultaneously!
Tell us about a project that you completed that you are most proud of.
SM: One of my favorite projects is a chair I designed and built. It was exciting coming up with a unique design that accomplished everything I wanted while still being aesthetically pleasing, functional, and practical. One of my favorite parts of designing the chair was exploring the connections and details of how it would all join together and look. It was also a challenge completing the design in the early days of the pandemic, and I am very grateful I was able to build my chair during those times with limited resources.
LW: While I am not a designer by profession, I consider myself crafty. I have enjoyed trying my hand at watercolor painting over the last few years and recently created a piece I am really happy with— a brightly colored piece with abstract iterations of all my favorite fruits!
What design object or story most strongly influenced your interest in design?
DK: My interest in design began with the idea of transformation, and wanting to be a part of taking something that doesn’t work and turning it into something that is both functional and beautiful.
LW: My father is a furniture designer and attended art school when Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the hub of furniture design in the country. Growing up in the area, I always enjoyed seeing the impact of art and design on the city— with breweries popping up in old manufacturing warehouses, traditional furniture collections sold and resold throughout the area, and exploring the historic furniture library at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD). My family road trips always involved a stop at the local Frank Lloyd Wright project, and after college, I lived down the road from the Mayer May House.
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to contribute?
DK: My goal is always to support my teammates and do my part to contribute to the success of the team.
JA: I’m new to the design field, but I hope that I can help create spaces that support health and safety.
LW: My goal is to provide marketing materials with substance. Attempting to answer the questions head-on: How can marketing meet curiosity and provide educational content, support the creation of our built environments, and lessen the constant noise of advertisements in our society?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
DK: I often have the ability to fly in my dreams which is very fun. I would also love to know what my dog is thinking.
SM: If I could have one superpower, it would be the ability to fly. I have always loved the idea of the wind rushing through my hair and seeing the world from a bird’s perspective. It would also be very neat to travel to new places and explore never before seen sites.
LW: Time travel! I’d love to see ancient civilizations and understand what we got right and what was lost to time.
How should community influence design?
DK: Design is FOR the community, so as designers, we need to pay attention. Actions speak louder than words, so while it is fundamental to involve community members and solicit their input, it is also valuable to observe patterns of behavior to gain insight into their needs.