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Greta Grossman - a pioneer of the design scene

Greta Grossman - a pioneer of the design scene

The light classics of the almost forgotten designer Greta Grossman experience a big comeback these days.

Coincidence came into play, as so often, when the renowned gallerist Evan Synderman discovered a desk of the Swedish designer Greta Magnusson Grossman, which had nearly been forgotten, at the end of the 1990s. Thereby he also laid the foundation for a successful comeback. Three of her classics were launched again by the Danish manufacturer Gubi at the beginning of 2011: the "Grasshopper" - the table lamp and the floor lamp Cobra.


Design for the American jet-set Grossman was at the high point of her career in the years between 1940 and 1960. She was part of the American elite by designing complete houses and apartments and her customers included personalities such as Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo and Paulette Goddard. Most of her clients were modern professional women, who had made a name for themselves primarily in the entertainment industry. Thanks to the collaboration with some very prominent personalities, Grossman quickly became part of the society. Today, the Grossman originals are among the most popular collectibles and are being sold at auctions all over the world. They can achieve prices of about 10,000 euros. The design classics have lost none of their attraction, and therefore the Danish design company Gubi decided to re-launch three lighting models. The Danes focus to stay as close as possible to the original in order to preserve the flawlessness of the designs.  

 Greta Grossman Portrait 

A brave Swedish pioneer. In the 1930s, Grossman significantly influenced the Swedish and European design and architecture scene. As one of the first women ever she won the Swedish design award and opened a studio - a combination of workshop and furniture store in Stockholm. And this at a time when the furniture industry, as well as the design and architecture scene, were largely dominated by men. Together with her husband, the jazz musician Billy Grossman, she immigrated to America in 1940 and opened a new store on Rodeo Drive in California. Her designs, which combine refined wood with metal and plastic elements, were so exceptional that she celebrated large successes. She designed numerous pieces of furniture and more than a dozen homes, some of which can still be visited today. Her trademark were housed on stilts, embedded into the hilly backcountry of Los Angeles. They seemed to tower above the valleys, providing spectacular views of the surrounding countryside to the residents through generous glass fronts. When her husband died in 1967, Grossman withdrew from the design and architecture scene. Decades later, when the influential gallerist Snyderman saw one of her tables in a design shop in Manhattan and fell instantly in love with it, Grossman had her big comeback.    

A masculine appearing lamp Soft shapes  "Grasshopper" and "Cobra" are most likely the best known products by Greta Grossman. All three objects were launched at a time when the furniture and design industry was influenced by modern designs. The "Grasshopper" light was produced for the first time in 1947 and has a delicate, organic shape and looks very feminine. The tubular steel tripod is slightly inclined backwards, while the elongated, cone-shaped lampshade made of aluminum is flexible and is attached to the arm of the lamp.   Consequently, the light with minimal blinding effect can be adjusted individually. The floor lamp is available in five colors and costs 665 euros. The metallic "Cobra" has a more masculine appearance. The tubular flexible light arm can be bent in all directions, while the lampshade can be swiveled 360 degrees. The "Cobra" models are available in three colors. The table lamp costs about 345 euros, the floor lamp about 535 euros.  

Grasshopper by Grossman

Bio of Greta Magnusson Grossman   The Stockholm-born Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-1999) had a highly productive career in Europe and North America. She celebrated her numerous successes in the areas of industrial design, interior architecture and classical architecture. At the end of 1920 a scholarship at the prestigious Stockholm Art Academy Konstfack was offered to her, which she completed successfully in 1933. In the same year she opened a studio in Stockholm together with a fellow student and married the jazz musician Billy Grossman. Between 1940 and 1950 her designs were part of countless international exhibitions and were presented to the public, among other things, in the MoMA in New York or at the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.  


Gubi, the family-run company Gubi A/S. Founded in 1967, it is headed today in the second generation by Jacob Gubi. The innovative and creative Danes committed mainly to the re-launch of design classics from the furniture and lighting industry. The showroom and the headquarters are located on a 2,000-square-meter area in the Freeport of Copenhagen.  

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