In a male-dominated industry, Greta Magnusson Grossman made a name for herself in her country and the United States. She was an accomplished architect, interior, and industrial designer who contributed to modern design, bringing Scandinavian aesthetics to California's contemporary scene. Born in 1906 in Sweden, she received a scholarship to a famous art institution in Stockholm, Konstfack. After completing her fellowship, she became an entrepreneur, opening her studio, workshop, and store in Stockholm. The year 1933 seemed to have been looking good for Greta because after opening doors to her studio, she also got married to Bill Grossman and later moved with him to Los Angeles, USA, in 1940.
On arrival in LA, Greta opened a successful studio in Beverly Hills where she worked on interior designs for high-end clients. She was among the pioneers of Swedish modernism to the California scene and became a sensation in Los Angeles. Her clientele included big furniture companies who asked her to design advanced furniture and lighting, celebrities like Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Frank Sinatra, to name a few. Her fame grew from there, and shortly afterward, she would appear alongside Isamu Noguchi and Charles Eames. Greta devoted forty years of her life to her work, creating fine design works exemplary in every aspect.
At the peak of her career, Greta taught at UCLA and an Art Center in Pasadena. She also got a lot of press coverage, and her work often featured in Arts & Architecture magazine. During the 40s and 50s, she exhibited her designs in several museums like the National Museum in Stockholm and MoMA in New York. Between 1949-1959, Greta’s architectural side was seen as she designed 14 homes with almost ten still standing, like the Hurley house and the Jim Backus house. She was also noted for industrial designs like the cobra table lamp. She was the first woman to receive an award for furniture design from the Stockholm Craft Association. Yet, her fanfare subsided in the 60s, making her disappear from the spotlight. She retired to a home she built in Encinitas and painting landscapes till her demise in 1999. However, her work has been getting recognition from books, exhibitions, and large auctions on original works.