On April 4, Metropolis Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Susan Szenasy visited with undergraduate and graduate interior design students to give an in-depth presentation on Olga Gueft. The event took place at the Charles Moore Foundation in Austin, Texas.
Generously funded by the school’s Emily Summers Excellence Fund for the History of Interior Design, the discussion focused on Gueft’s contributions as editor of Interiors magazine; her influence on design giants Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Ray and Charles Eames, Herman Miller, and George Nelson; and, Szenasy’s experiences as her assistant. A gifted writer, critic, and photographer, Gueft served as the official American representative for the 1954 Milan Triennale and recruited a cadre of emerging industrial designers, such as Eliot Noyes, Peter Muller-Munk, Russel Wright, and Raymond Loewy, to have their work featured during this event. Gueft’s contributions to the design field were numerous, but her death at the age of 99 in 2015 went largely unnoticed by most major media outlets.
Szenasy also made a point to dispute the public’s common misconception that interior design is simply a form of decorating. “Interior design is a lively profession and it’s all about people’s well-being. We live in a complex, interconnected world, where almost everything happens in the interior. You're not just pushing furniture around,” she said to the group. “You're making people’s lives better and their occupations safer; you are an integral part of people’s lives and your knowledge is needed.”
The overall tone of the conversation was highly motivational in ushering forth the next generation of leaders in design. Szenasy’s hope is that there will be continued dialogue and research on Gueft’s advancement of the design profession.