February 20, 2012

Collection: Greta Magnusson Grossman

Grossman’s own residence, on Claircrest Drive in Beverly Hills. Image

Architect Greta Magnusson Grossman’s work is virtually unknown. Born in Sweeden, she moved from Stockholm to Los Angeles in the late 1930′s. She was a rising star, in a male dominated profession. Beautiful lines, sculptural forms, and a refined simplicity, her work reflects sophisticated detail and proportion.  Since 1998, R Gallery of 20th Century Design in New York City, has been committed to the preservation of Grossman’s vital contributions to 20th century design. The gallery houses a large portion of her estate, including original drawings and photographs.  ”She was definitely ahead of her time.  She was successful at incorporating new materials such as Formica into her designs. And there’s a sense of composition in her work that you don’t see elsewhere – this sense of lightness, with the pieces of furniture that seem to be floating on these bug-like legs. Her work seems almost animated in that way.”  ”Grossman’s most enduring work in Los Angeles came in the form of her built architectural commissions. Between 1949 and 1959 Grossman designed at least fourteen homes in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco and one back in her native Sweden. Of these, at least ten are still standing. The homes were often perched on stilts at the top of a hill, overlooking a canyon, with magnificent views through curtain walls of glass. The homes featured extensive built-in shelving and the uniquely open and free flowing floor plan popular at the time. She worked several times with celebrated landscape architect Garrett Eckbo on the outdoor spaces. Grossman’s houses are designed to the diminutive scale of the Los Angeles based Case Study House program — most of them have a footprint of less than 1,500 square feet . Her architectural work, as well as her design work, was featured extensively in Arts & Architecture, the magazine edited by Case Study program founder John Entenza.”

 

All images and excerpts sourced at R Gallery, unless otherwise noted.

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