Greta Magnusson-Grossman


Greta Magnusson-Grossman

Furniture designer and architect Greta Magnusson-Grossman (1906-1999), born the 1st of January 1906 in Helsingborg (Sweden), was very successful in Europe and North America during her extremely productive 40 years career. Becoming especially famous through her achievements in industrial design, interior architecture and architecture.

In the late 1920s, Grossman finished her one-year carpenter apprenticeship in her home town Helsingborg, Sweden. She was honoured with a scholarship allowing her to study Arts (then known as Högre Konstindustriella Skolan) at the famous Stockholm arts institute. There she exceeded herself in technical drawing and began focusing on furniture, textiles and ceramic.

In the year 1933 Grossman received the second place for design by the Stockholm Craft Association as first woman ever in her category. In that year Grossman and her classmate of Konstfack, Erik Ullrich founded a studio, a shop and a working-community in Stockholm. In their atelier Greta Magnusson-Grossman designed numerous unique furniture-pieces and furnishings receiving high recognition and attention by the press.

In the year 1934 she was honoured by the Swedish Society of Industrial Design and received a scholarship to travel through Europe.

She was permitted to constantly expose her designs in the Galerie Moderne, a cultural Mekka in Stockholm. Important for Grossman was her design for a child’s bed for the Swedish princess Brigitta in 1937, receiving a lot of attention by the press once again, opening the access to a huge group-exposition in the national museum in Stockholm.

She moreover married the band-leader Billy Grossman in the year 1933, going to the United States with him in 1940, founding a new design studio for modern Swedish furniture, lamps and accessories in Los Angeles.

In the 1940s and 50s, Grossman presented her designs in many museums around the world, including the MoMa in New York and The National Museum in Stockholm. The most cult-oriented products of that time are the floor lamp “Gräshoppa” and the floor and table lamps “Cobra”. The “Gräshoppa” lamp has been produced for the first time in the year 1947. The three-feet floor lamp is one of the most important works of the Swedish-American designer.

She has been inspired by Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier for both lamps, but still including her own personal style. In 1950 the “Cobra” won the Good Design Award and was afterwards exposed on the Good Design Show in the Museum of Modern Art.

During the following 20 years she published works for companies such as Glenn in California, Sherman Bertram, Martin/Brattrud and Modern Line. The work for Glenn in California is known as her most famous and refined.

In the 40s and 50s Grossman’s designs were exposed in many famous international expositions such as the The National museum (in Stockholm, Sweden), Röhsska Museet (Gothenburg, Sweden), Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Museum of Industry and Science (Chicago, USA) and in the Young Museum (San Francisco, USA). In the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Sweden many articles about her work have been furnished.

Furthermore Greta Magnusson-Grossman teaches Industrial Design courses at the University in California, Los Angeles and in the Art Center School in Los Angeles.

Between 1949 and 1959 Greta Magnusson-Grossman designed more than 14 own homes, one in San Francisco, one in her home-country Sweden. At least 10 of them still exist. Her work as an architect as well as her design works as designer were named and displayed with details in Arts & Architecture, a magazine by John Entenza.

In the late 60s she retired. Grossmans unique, modern-classic product designs are still collected and auctioned all around the world.

Greta Magnusson-Grossman passed by in the year 1999.