WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL DESIGN? It emerged as a profession in the 1920s but took firmer hold in the depression the United States. After the stuffiness of previous eras manufacturers turned to industrial designers to give their products a modern look that would attract consumer appeal. It was a fresh new beginning and the timing was fortuitous. At a time when the country was at a low-ebb, the new streamlined works evoked a sense of speed and efficiency and projected the image of progress. At the same time, it allowed corporations to mass produce items and industrial designers lowered the costs by exploiting new materials like plastic, vinyl, chrome, aluminum creating works through molds and shaping. Resulting affordable prices and a growing prosperity helped to drive popular demand for modernism.
GRETA BEHIND HER MAN Greta was the widow of the industrial designer, Walter Von Nessen founder of Nessen Studios, established in 1927 in New York City, now Nessen Lamps Inc. Von Nessen was the only major designer to concentrate on innovative contemporary lighting and quickly gained a following with well known architects. After her husband’s death in 1943, Greta continued his lighting and furniture business developing designs of her own, particularly the Anywhere Lamp. She is counted among the pioneers in American industrial design and her designs have been featured at MOMA, the Modern Museum of Art and on a United States postage stamp. There seems to be very little biographical date about Great except that she was an American born in Sweden in 1900 and died in 1978.