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Female, Sweden/US, born 1906-07-21, died 1999-08-28

Associated with the firm network

Magnusson-Grossman, Greta, Architect/Designer

Professional History


Magnusson-Grossman designed a small number of houses, in addition to her furniture design. According to the R Gallery web site, a New York seller of vintage mid-century furniture, "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 [in c. 2000]." (See R Gallery, "Greta Magnusson-Grossman," accessed 05/02/2011.) This exhibit underscored her success in both Europe and the US, as she shuttled between Sweden and Southern CA.

In 1958, Magnusson-Grossman's architectural work was toured alongside residences of the most illustrious architects in the city: “A contemporary architecture tour through seven private homes designed by famous architects will be conducted by Beata Imaya on Sunday, Sept. 7. Designing architects are R.M. Schindler, Gregory Ain, John Lautner, Craig Ellwood, Greta Magnusson-Grossman, Josef Van der Kar and Val Powelson.” (See “Local Work on View at Fair,” Los Angeles Evening Citizen-News, 08/29/1958, p. 5.)


Lecturer in Industrial Design, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Westwood, Los Angeles, CA, 1957-1963.

Lecturer in Industrial Design, Art Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Professional Activities

Magnusson-Grossman delivered a speech, “Modern Trends in Interior Decorating,” at the Valley University Women meeting on 10/17/1950. (See “University Women to Hear Noted Designer,” Los Angeles Daily News, 10/12/1950, p. 24.)

The architect gave a lecture entitled “Materials of Interior Design,” at the Long Beach City College Art Forum on Tuesday 05/05/1953. (See “City College Art Forum Slates Talk by Designer,” Long Beach Press-Telegram, 05/03/1953, p. 18.)



Dipl., Högre Konstindustriella Skolan, (translating to "Higher School of Art and Design"), Stockholm, Sweden, 1931.



Born in Helsingborg, Sweden, on the southwestern tip of the country, Greta Magnusson-Grossman was trained in design at Stockholm's Konstfack (known in the 1920s as "Högre Konstindustriella Skolan"), concentrating on furniture design. She attained acclaim while in Sweden, capturing some important commissions in the mid-1930s and was included in a 1937 group furniture show at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. She probably left her last foreign place of residence, Stockholm, in mid-1940.

As the Hitler's expansionism threatened all regions of Europe, Greta and her husband William Grossman sailed to the US from Yokohama, Japan, aboard the S.S. Kamakura Maru. They entered the US on 07/27/1940 at the Port of San Francisco. When she entered the US, her nationality was that of her husband, British, according to naturalization documents. (See, Source Citation National Archives at Riverside; Riverside, California; NAI Number: 618171; Record Group Title: 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009, accessed 02/18/2021.)

On 10/28/1941, she and William resided at 358 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA. As per William Grossman's World War II draft card, he and Greta worked together in their house which also was their place of business at this time. (See, Source Citation The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 712, accessed 02/18/2021.)

She opened a renowned Beverly Hills design shop patronized by Hollywood personalities. She developed a notable reputation as a furniture designer, collaborating with many established Southern California furniture manufacturing and marketing companies, including Barker Brothers, Sherman Bertram, Martin/Brattrud and Modern Line to produce various furniture pieces in the 1940s. Magnusson-Grossman's best known work was done in the 1940s and 1950s for Glenn of California, a manufacturer based in Arcadia, CA. She was also renowned for her lighting designs--particularly her "Grasshopper" floor lamp, produced by Ralph O. Smith, another Southern CA manufacturer. This particular design was widely copied, in spite of Magnusson-Grossman receiving a US Design Patent in 1950, No. 160,084.

Many of Magnusson-Grossman's designs were featured in California Arts and Architecture magazine and in the Good Design exhibitions staged by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Merchandise Mart of Chicago.


A Los Angeles Daily News article discussing an upcoming presentation Magnusson-Grossman was to give before the Valley University Women in 10/1950 stated of her famiy background: "Swedish-born Greta Grossman originally planned to become a sculptor, but having descended from six generations of house builders, she too turned to architecture and interior decorating." (See "University Women to Hear Noted Designer," Los Angeles Daily News, 10/12/1950, p. 24.)


Her husband William "Billy" Grossman (born 11/01/1897 in London, England-d. 08/02/1979 in San Diego County, CA) was a band leader. They married on 12/11/1933 in Stockholm, Sweden. In the early 1940s, he worked with his wife, as business manager for their Beverly Hills store at 358 North Rodeo Drive.

An article published in the San Francisco Examiner just after their 07/27/1940 arrival in San Francisco, said of Billy Grossman: “He is Scandinavia’s prewar dance band favorite, known as the ‘Benny Goodman of Sweden.” (See “Couple Arrive from Sweden,” San Francisco Examiner, 07/29/1940, p. 3.)

Biographical Notes

Magnusson-Grossman filed a declaration of intention for US naturalization on 10/28/1941. According to naturalization paperwork, she stood 5-feet, 5-inches tall, weighed 135 pounds, and had a fair Caucasian complexion. Her hair was dark brown and eyes, green. (See, Source Citation National Archives at Riverside; Riverside, California; NAI Number: 618171; Record Group Title: 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009, accessed 02/18/2021.)

Member, San Dieguito Arts Guild, Encinitas, CA, 1967-1997.

SSN: 564-30-0074.

Associated Locations

  • Beverly Hills, CA (Architect's Office)
    1659 Waynecrest Drive
    Beverly Hills, CA

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PCAD id: 274