Tobias Grau was born in Hamburg in 1957.
After studying business management in Munich, he went to New York in 1983 where he attended the Parson School of Design, followed by an internship in the development department of Knoll International in Pennsylvania.
In 1984, Tobias Grau started out as a freelance designer in Hamburg with interior design projects for offices, agencies, small companies and fashion firms. These interiors also included his own designs for lamps and furniture, which were realised in collaboration with special workshops.
It was from this work that Tobias Grau developed his first lamp collection, launched under his own name at the Cologne Furniture Fair in 1987. Ever since, the focus of his work has been on the development of new lamps and lighting systems, as well as designing the brand's catalogues, shops and fair stands.
Tobias Grau created the interior design for the Tobias Grau company building that was completed on the outskirts of Hamburg in 1998. This project gave him the opportunity to develop not only the furniture but all the luminaires specifically for this particular building. Many of them were subsequently included in the collection. Besides lamps for the home, he began to design an increasing number of lamps for commercial projects, particularly office lighting, which were launched in 2002.
The most famous lamps in the Tobias Grau collection include Tai, Bill, George, Soon, Oh China. The lamps have won numerous design awards, including the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award in gold, the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award in silver, the Red Dot Design Award "best of the best", the iF Product Design Award in gold, the iF Product Design Award in silver and the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany in gold.
Tobias Grau's latest designs are the office lighting collection GO XT, various LED lamps and the XT PLUG&DIM switch collection (to be launched in autumn 2008).
One of the company's current projects is the interior design and lighting of an 18-storey office building, including the fitting-out of the top floor with specially designed furniture, carpets and luminaires.
In Milan 2009: Over the last 20 years, Franziska and Tobias Grau have consistently established the Tobias Grau brand as a renowned lighting specialist. Following the recent
introduction of the company’s first new product category, a switch and socket range, the brand is now taking another major step towards the launch of a comprehensive furnishing collection: the Tobias Grau range of tables and carpets will be making its début in Milan.
Thanks to the joint commercial management of Franziska and Tobias Grau, Tobias Grau’s designs and a first-rate team, the firm is today in a position to embark on new themes, develop products with new solutions and launch them in excellent quality.
The utmost care is taken to ensure that all the individual products enhance the collection as a whole and combine to form a single, harmonious unit.
Franziska Grau (born 1964) and Tobias Grau (born 1957) are married with four children. The couple lives in Hamburg and has been running Tobias Grau GmbH together for 20 years. The company was founded by Tobias Grau in Hamburg in 1984. Both studied business administration; Tobias Grau subsequently spent a year studying design in the USA. Today Tobias Grau GmbH is based on the outskirts of Hamburg and employs a staff of 120.