PIONEERING WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE FACE OF DESIGN
GUBI is exploring the extraordinary achievements of two groundbreaking mid-century female designers – Greta Magnusson Grossman and Tove Kindt-Larsen – and their impact on contemporary designers such as Space Copenhagen’s Signe Bindslev Henriksen and co-founder of Danish-Italian design studio GamFratesti, designer Stine Gam.
Women of firsts
Greta Magnusson Grossman was one of the first female designers to come to international prominence in the male-dominated worlds of mid-century industrial and interior design and architecture. She became the first woman in the workshop when she undertook a woodworking apprenticeship and was among the first women to graduate from Konstfack’s School of Industrial Design.
She was among the first to bring Scandinavian modernism to Southern California’s flourishing scene and, from the 1940s to the 1960s, was the only female architect in Los Angeles to own independent practice.
“Both Grossman and Kindt-Larsen succeeded in fusing Scandinavian origins with modernist philosophy and a very human-centered approach. Their projects helped to define the values of modern design which influence the world of design to this day.”
STINE GAM - GAMFRATESI
Greta M. Grossman
A grossman building in los angeles. A recurring theme in her designs was the use of stilts, which is reflected in her grässhoppa, 62 series, and modern line collections.
Likewise, Tove Kindt-Larsen was one of the first female designers to emerge during Denmark’s ‘Golden Era’ in the mid-20th century.
Winning design prizes since the beginning of her career, she was an early innovator in the use of rattan and molded plywood. She was at the forefront of the movement away from designing room sets towards conceiving individual pieces of furniture so that homeowners could curate their own spaces.
Not only did Greta Magnusson Grossman and Tove Kindt-Larsen show the next generation of designers that it could be done, but they created designs with such contemporary relevance that there are still lessons to be learned from them today.
“Designers such as Greta Magnusson Grossman and Tove Kindt-Larsen are role models for life and determination. They were part of a society, a study and a movement that has led to what we now call contemporary design. They influenced our way of living – and their iconic designs are still part of our daily lives, carrying an original story and with current values.”
STINE GAM - GAMFRATESI
“I’m inspired by how playful and effortless the Gräshoppa Collection is. It is an intuitive composition as well as serving its functional purpose – that’s the most difficult balance for a designer to get right.”
SIGNE BINDSLEV HENRIKSEN - SPACE COPENHAGEN
“My grandmother was a passionate architect, so as a child I never saw architecture and construction as being dominated by masculine energy,” says co-founder of Space Copenhagen, Signe Bindslev Henriksen. “But later on, at architecture school, I realized that most of the people I admired, were in fact old men. As a young woman, that sometimes felt alienating.”
She continues: “Over time it was wonderful and eye-opening to get to know the works and stories of skilled and ambitious female architects and designers, who contributed to the industry with great success and relevance, on their own terms.”
“More than anything, I admire their ability to follow an intuitive passion. The Grace Chair is a celebration of craft and comfort with the poetic touch of soft curves and refined detailing.”
SIGNE BINDSLEV HENRIKSEN, SPACE COPENHAGEN
Their legacy lives on
Greta Magnusson Grossman and Tove Kindt-Larsen’s accomplishments paved the way for the next generation of female designers, breaking boundaries, setting examples and providing role models.