Revisiting Rio

I had let my subscription to Metropolis expire, but after reading this speech by Susan S. Szenasy [“What Happened? Where Do We Go From Here?”], I decided to subscribe again. I am an interior design student, and Ms. Szenasy’s speech summed up my desire to make the world a better place through a thoughtfully designed environment. This article is going up on my design inspirations board, and I will refer to it often.

Thank you for an insightful and inspiring speech. Keep up the good work.

Nancy Morgan
Kaleden, British Columbia


I read with interest Susan S. Szenasy’s article. Her observations about her travel experiences are familiar to many of us—especially those who travel outside their homeland.

Designers of all disciplines need to get past the need for self-gratification and instead find gratification in making life safer, cleaner, more fulfilling, and better for people and the planet. It’s easy to expound upon the need for socially responsible design, but not so easy to inculcate these values in designers. Still, I think we can do it. Often such widespread shifts in attitude start off slowly and build momentum over many years. But cultural change comes faster these days and Susan’s ideas will hopefully gain acceptance at a rapid pace.



I am liking Susan S. Szenasy’s focus on responsibility more and more. I think the more we read and see this, the more likely it will become an emotive tool for change. This and previous articles are reasonable and charged at the same time. I encourage you to write and publish more articles like this, to promote knowledge sharing, resources, and the application of these ideas.

But please also give attention to the ultimate objective, the superceding factor in designing and manufacturing anything new: don’t even think about it unless it will last a lifetime. Don’t build a house, a chair, a vehicle with sustainable materials if it isn’t going to be desirable to you or somebody else for a long time. Make it modern, make it valuable, make it in a way that serves all before it serves you. Let’s trade good design like a parallel currency. Let’s cut down on designers (sorry, but enough is enough) and elevate good, well-built design to permanent design. Contribute to collectibility by building things that are theoretically impossible to completely consume. Recycle these resource investments (products) by following through with a completely thought out product that isn’t vulnerable to trend.

Sustainable material garbage is still garbage, in the end.

Is there any other way to change the purchaser’s process than to assign a monetary value to buying once (as opposed to repeatedly)? The lazy decision to not think something through and move forward on a temporary solution should be revealed as costly and foolish.

Thanks for your dedication to these important issues.

Joe Kish


It must be rough traveling with Ms. Szenasy as she ventures forth only to find a problem in just about every situation encountered on her trip to Rio. Her diatribe reminds me of people who travel abroad and then complain because the money doesn’t look like it does in Kansas.

Chris Maynard

Categories: Uncategorized