Born in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden in 1906, Greta Magnusson-Grossman was an architect, industrial designer, and furniture designer. In her youth she was a carpenter's apprentice at the Kärnan furniture manufacturing company, going on to graduate from the Arts, Crafts, and Design University in Stockholm, nowadays known as Konstfack. She worked for a time at Harald Westerberg Co. and then started her own enterprise, Studio, designing and producing décor items and furniture. In 1933 she became the first female recipient of the Furniture Designer Award.
In 1940 Grossman decided to broaden her horizons and made for Los Angeles with her husband Billy. Her capability as an architect brought her renown; she was skilled at designing houses on "problematic property". Her breakthrough came with her first villa in Beverly Hills, featured in the Arts & Architecture magazine, among others. Shortly after, Grossman opened an interior design store on ritzy Rodeo Drive with furniture, ornamental objects, and lamps, all showcasing modern Swedish design. Greta Grossman is one of the creators of the globally recognised expression "Swedish modern".
Grossman's unique design language became an instant topic of conversation, and it did not take long for high-profile celebrities in the vein of Frank Sinatra, Ingrid Bergman, and Greta Garbo to take note of her design. In the 1940s and '50s, Grossman's pieces were displayed in museums around the world, from MoMA in New York to the National Museum of Sweden in Stockholm. Despite her bi-continental career in North America and Europe, Grossman never really got the attention she truly deserved. Today most people know her from the Grasshopper and Cobra lamps, more recently produced by Gubi of Denmark.