Designer/artist Johanna Grawunder works on a broad range of projects, from large-scale public lighting and color installations, architectural interventions and interiors, to limited-edition furniture and light collections for Carpenters Workshop Gallery in US and Europe. She has collaborated with many notable architects and designers, creating custom lighting installations in their projects, and has also designed products for top companies including Flos, Boffi, and GlasItalia.
With an architectural background, she was drawn to the medium of light early on and has tried to incorporate architectural principles and scale, non-precious building materials and high technology light research into her designs.
Current commissions include a public art commission for San Francisco Airport (completion 2019), a new Light Art collection for Carpenters Workshop Gallery as well as the exhibition "Alone Together" for Assab One in Milan. She was recently honored as "Designer of Influence 2018" by Collective Design NYC.
Her work is included in many museum permanent collections, including the High Museum Atlanta, LACMA, CNAP, SFMOMA, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Art Institute Chicago, Denver Art Museum and Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris.
With a degree in Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she studied and worked with Gianni Pettena and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia of Superstudio in Florence (1984-1985) then moved to Milan to work with Sottsass Associati (1985-2001), becoming a partner in 1989. At Sottsass Associati she was involved primarily with architecture and interiors, co-designing with Ettore Sottsass, many of the firm’s most prestigious projects. In 2001 she opened her own design studio in San Francisco and Milan.
My artistic design production has been informed by the contemporary landscape. It is a composite vision of a world that moves uneasily towards a technological future. I have tried to develop an aesthetic program of a unique contemporaneity, embracing the aesthetics of popular technology, that is, the material signs and visual effects that are the digital colors, lights, and high performance materials that surround us, as opposed to the actual technical fact of technology. I am interested in the language of technology more than just technology for it's own sake. To hold it all together, I lean heavily on my architectural background and modernist imprint.