(adam štěch) Swedish designer Greta Magnusson Grossman, who has worked all her life in the USA, symbolically returns to her homeland. The Museum of Architecture in Stockholm pays homage to the authentic designer with the first retrospective exhibition of her works in Sweden.
The work of Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-1999) merged Scandinavian furniture tradition with its acme in the 1950s with one of the most progressive trends of that time, i.e. the Californian designer movement. In this context, one recalls such figures as the Eames, George Nelson, Alexander Girard, and several others who established modernist organic design in the USA by means of their innovative creations. However, hardly anybody knows the works of this Swedish lady, who decided to settle down with her husband in California as early as the 1930s. She created a specific elegant style in the 1950s based on her different background and experience of European inter-war modernism. Thus, she came close to the European designer movement of that time thanks to a decorative shortcut. The emphasis, put more on craftsmanship than on lot-production, distinguishes the creative approach of Greta Magnusson Grossman from the famous Californian production of the post-war era. Magnusson Grossman excelled mainly in lighting and furniture designs, which she made for local furniture manufacturers, e.g. Glenn of California, Ralph O. Smith, and Barker Brothers. Thus, even today the pure and elegant shape of the Grasshopper lamp that she designed for Ralph O. Smith fascinates us. Her designs for Ralph O. Smith create, with the formally purged Cobra lamp, a unique set of lighting design of the 1950s, in which the designer seems to have found a simple formal archetype not unlike other period designs, yet in a very original and timeless form. The designer gave similar features to other furniture designs, as well as the design of her own house.
The uniqueness of the work of Greta Magnusson Grossman wins the hearts of many prominent admirers. Her production ranks not only among the most desired items at auctions of modernist design, but also among popular exhibition artifacts of leading galleries. The biggest distributors of her furniture designs include the New York-based R 20th, which collaborated on the Swedish exhibition. On this occasion, a comprehensive monograph entitled Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts has been published. The retrospective exhibition takes place in Arkitekturmuseet until May 16.