Sophia de Sousa: Chief Executive, The Glass-House Community Led Design

This image is of my favourite corner in Florence, a city that I fell in love with as a student of Architectural History and that would become my home for 14 years. It is the corner of Via dei Servi and Via de’ Pucci, one which I regularly whizzed past on my bike or ambled past on foot as part of my daily movements around the city. What this image doesn’t show, is the view beyond this building of Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This was a particularly free and creative time of life for me, one in which my relationship with architecture and urbanism was not professional, but simply lived. I had left the sector in frustration with what I saw as its disconnect with people, and opted to live in what I considered a place of sublime architectural and natural beauty and of pleasingly walkable urban scale. I taught, worked with museums, academics and creatives, and I looked and looked and looked. 

In that period, every year I crafted Christmas presents for friends and family using the materials and technologies available to me. This is from my Christmas workshop of 1993, a gift to my grandmother that I reclaimed when she passed away. It is watercolour on a photocopy of a black and white photograph that I had taken.