At Dwell, we’re quite fond of the midcentury modern period, from revolutionary architecture and highly functional products to the streamlined silhouettes of our favorite furniture and lighting. This season, we’ve assembled a gift collection for fellow midcentury design lovers that celebrates this prolific period of modern design. Check out eight of our favorite midcentury gifts here, and be sure to check out the complete collection at the Dwell Store.
One thing we love about the For the Midcentury Enthusiast gift guide is that each item tells a story, whether it’s the late-night brainstorming session that led George Nelson and Associates to come up with the iconic Ball Clock or Hans Bølling finding inspiration from a Danish police officer stopping traffic for a family of ducks in his Wooden Duckling. We are also drawn to the stories of these designers, who were a part of such a treasured period in modern design.
Greta Grossman, who designed the now iconic Grasshopper Floor Lamp, was an extremely productive designer, spreading her forty-year career on two continents—in Europe and North America. Grossman completed her fellowship at Konstfack, the Stockholm arts institution in 1933, and was the first woman to graduate from the Stockholm School of Industrial Design. She opened Studio, a combined store and workshop that became a hub for young Swedish designers. Soon after, Grossman and her husband Billy Grossman, an American jazz musician, emigrated to the United States. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Grossman exhibited her designs all over the world, including at MoMA in New York and The National Museum in Stockholm. She opened a store on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and designed interiors for homes and residential spaces. Grossman even sold some of her furniture designs to Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, and Frank Sinatra.
Despite her steady career and fame in Sweden and California, Grossman became a relatively unknown industrial and interior designer in the eyes of design history. Her contemporaries knew her and celebrated her, but her notoriety was not widespread or lasting. In many ways, Grossman’s career was largely forgotten despite forty years of working in the industry and taking a significant role in defining the modernist esthetic. As design brand Gubi’s mission is to re-launch designs—forgotten icons—it’s no surprise that the company connected with Greta Grossman’s story. From Jacob Gubi: “The fact that she is relatively unknown just makes the process for Gubi more interesting, as we have an honest opportunity to continue to convey Greta Grossman's designs… she ended up largely unknown and almost forgotten. I am very happy that we can give this magnificent female designer a second comeback."
Gubi has taken the iconic Grasshopper (Gräshoppa) Lamp that Grossman first produced in 1947 and made it available to a modern audience. Made of aluminum with a conical shade and tubular steel tripod, the Grasshopper Lamp remains Grossman’s most popular design. It was named for its abstract rendering of a grasshopper poised on its legs, ready to jump. The lamp is available at the Dwell Store in several colors, as well as in a table lamp version.