design, lighting

Design Icons: a champion of Swedish Modernism

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With its slender stand and a dominant lampshade, the Gräshoppa floor lamp by Greta Magnusson-Grossman is a true classic that was reissued in 2011 by Danish design company Gubi.

Greta Magnusson-Grossman, image via gubi.com.

who?

While the mid-20th-century architectural scene was largely dominated by men, architect, furniture- and interior designer Greta Magnusson-Grossman rose to prominence all the same, paving the way for many more women to enter the industry and make their much-needed mark.

Born in Sweden, Greta studied furniture design and architecture in Stockholm. By 1933 her contributions to the field led to her being the first woman to win a prize for the Stockholm Craft Association's 'Combination Furniture' competition, and it was during this same decade that she opened her own store named Studio. It was a huge success and soon she became the face of Modernism in Sweden. During the Second World War in 1940, Greta and her jazz-player husband Billy Grossman emigrated to the United States, where they opened the Magnusson-Grossman Studio on Rodeo Drive in San Francisco.

Greta was hugely influenced by the brand of European Modernism that was being imported to the US by the likes of Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. She played a significant role in introducing Swedish design to the American market and thus helped define the aesthetic of Mid-Century Californian Modernism.

what?

With a clean design and refined features, the very first Gräshoppa (or Grasshopper) floor lamp was created in 1947. The three-legged tripod tilts slightly backwards and its elongated conical lampshade is ball-jointed onto the angled arm, allowing it to be directional. Both the stand and shade are made from powder-coated steel.

what now?

Gubi reintroduced the Gräshoppa in 2011, and the iconic lamps are available locally at Créma Design in six colours: Anthracite Grey, Warm Grey, Blue-Grey, Jet Black, Vintage Red and Matt White; about R11 000 each.

Visit gubi.com and cremadesign.co.za for more details.

A Greta Magnusson-Grossman Gräshoppa lamp and desk, image via thefutureperfect.com.