|Susan S. Szenasy|
Editor Susan S. Szenasy: Metropolis (New York)
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the magazine Metropolis, whose mission is to “examine contemporary life through design.” At the helm for the past 25 years has been editor in chief Susan S. Szenasy. Her role in the design world as it has evolved since 1981 prompted Designers & Books to ask Susan for her thoughts on the most notable design books published during the magazine’s three decades—as a sort of capsule summary of the important ideas dominating design from the late 20th century into the early 21st.
Susan came back to us with a slightly different idea. Rather than identifying notable books about design, she decided to discuss the books that have had an impact on design—that is, in her words, to focus on the “books that have, or should have, influenced our culture and the design community.”
The titles she includes in her essay for Designers & Books range from Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, published in 1985, to Ray C. Anderson’s Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, published in 2009—more or less spanning Metropolis magazine’s earliest years to the present. Examining “the blind embrace of technology,” the “information glut,” and sustainability, among other ideas that have now become an important part of the design dialogue, these are books that in different ways explore the concept that design can help us reach a social and cultural “higher destiny.”