GUBI Shines a Light on Greta M. Grossman
Furniture & Lighting
If you find yourself suddenly in-the-know about Greta M. Grossman, you can thank GUBI. The Danish design brand, which is equally focused on the past and present, has been instrumental in introducing a whole new generation of design enthusiasts to Grossman, a Swedish-born architect and designer who became a key contributor to the modernist movement, but whose name never gained the luster of her male contemporaries, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Chief amongst the iconic Mid Century products that GUBI has reprised is a collection of modern lamps designed by Grossman in the 1940s and 1950s, each piece instantly recognizable for its restrained beauty, brass detailing, and anthropomorphic form.
Without a doubt, the most famous of Greta Grossman’s designs is the Gräshoppa collection, a suite of lamps—floor lamp, table lamp, and pendant light—that features tubular steel stem, conical steel canopy, and burnished brass detailing. The Gräshoppa Floor Lamp, in particular, has become a modern interiors staple, owing its cult status to an elegantly angled body and conical head—an immaculate composition that uncannily mimics the human form. First produced in 1947, the lamp’s free moving head and painted steel shade make for an ideal directional light source with a minimal amount of glare.
Like many of her fellow European designers, Greta Magnussen Grossman left the continent for America, immigrating to Southern California in 1940. There, she designed more than a dozen modernists houses that bore the rectilinear, glass-glad profiles, open floor plans, and expansive views that came to define California modernism. A key (female) figure of the esthetic that would eventually be known as Mid-Century Modernism, Grossman also created a slew of innovative furniture and modern lighting designs—like her whimsical and dynamic Cobra Lamps, so named for their flexible arms and oval shades, reminiscent of a cobra’s hooded head. Grossman’s Cobra Table Lamp was a celebrated design, shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1951 as part of its Good Design exhibition series. The GUBI Cobra series includes Cobra Floor Lamp, table lamp, and wall lamp.
GUBI’s reprisal of Greta Grossman’s G10 lamp collection—originally produced for the Swedish manufacturer Bergboms—is amongst the brand’s releases of long forgotten designs. A lesser known Grossman creation, the GUBI G10 Floor Lamp (a pendant lamp is also included in the G10 series), features the designer’s trademark combination of angled stem and distinctive lampshade. Simultaneously refined and industrial, the G10 Floor Lamp, first introduced in 1950, manages the Grossman feat of being both classic and innovative, vintage and of-the-moment.