Joseph Grusczak attended the Straubenmuller Textile High School in New York City from 1950-1952 where he majored in Interior Design, Drafting and Illustration. The year he graduated Grusczak won First Place Gold Medal in the city-wide Fine Arts Competition sponsored by the New York City School Art League. This award also won him a full tuition scholarship to the New York School of Interior Design where he studied Architectural and Interior Design and graduated with a Degree in Design in 1956.
From 1956-1960, Grusczak worked for a number of New York-based interior designers and decorators. Some of these include:
Michael Greer, for whom he designed and illustrated the Pre-function Area and Main Ballroom in The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, “The Pink Palace”, in Waikiki, Honolulu.
Lloyd Bell, for whom he completed a number of perspective renderings of residential interiors.
David T. William, A.I.D. (former interior designer for Hilton Hotels), for whom he completed design and details of public spaces in miscellaneous Hilton Hotels; fixed décor and soft goods, perspective illustrations, and working drawings.
Anne Siegel Fried, A.I.D.: for whom he completed full design and details for miscellaneous clientele, including working drawings and perspective illustrations.
Ellen McCluskey Lehman (also known as Ellen McCluskey Long) for whom he completed a number of projects including a complete set of furniture and furnishings for the Hotel Avila in Caracas, Venezuela (at the time owned by Nelsen Rockefeller), designed and detailed the Executive Headquarters for the Salamon Brothers, a brokerage firm, and was also commissioned to design and detail Ms. McCluskey’s bedroom in her New York City residence, a project which involved obtaining exact profiles and details of an 18th century room from French & Company to complete the Louis XVI style.
International Business Machines (IBM) for whom he completed full design for the interior of the Bender Building Executive Offices in Washington, D.C.
Also during this period, Grusczak joined the staff at Melanie Kahane Associates in New York City as Assistant Designer and Illustrator, primarily working on high-end residential projects.
In 1961, Grusczak established Charterhouse Designs, Ltd., a fabric and wallcoverings manufacturing business which engaged in custom printing. The company catered to Interior Designers, Architects and Home Furnishings Consultants and had a total of twenty-one showrooms in cities across the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
In 1966, while Grusczak was still serving as president and designer for Charterhouse Designs, he established G.B. Designs., an Interior and Architectural Design firm which completed high-end residential as well as contract projects, some of which required full Architectural Design capabilities. It was at this point in his career that Grusczak began to design projects on behalf of Inter-Continental Hotels with his partner James Ray Baker. Between the years 1966 and 1972, G.B. Designs completed the following projects for the corporation:
Hotel Tamanaco Inter-Continental, Caracas, Venezuela
Hotel El Embajador Inter-Continental, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Ponce Inter-Continental Hotel, Ponce Puerto Rico
Hotel Curacao Inter-Continental, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
Hotel Americana, NYC, NY
City Squire Motor Inn, NYC, NY
Ivy Hill Lithograph, NYC, NY
Hotel Inter-Continental Lusaka, Lusaka, Zambia, Africa
Hotel Tahara Inter-Continental, Paeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Hotel Tequendama Inter-Continental, Bogota, Columbia
Hotel Jordan Inter-Continental, Amman, Jordan
Hotel Guayana Inter-Continental, Guayana, Venezuela
Hotel Radisson Minneapolis, MN
Hotel Reforma, Mexico City, Mexico
G. B. Designs disbanded in 1972, and it wasn’t until 1976 that Grusczak would work again for the Inter-Continental Hotel Corporation. An invitation to return came from Neal A. Prince, the Vice President of Graphic and Interior Design from 1966 – 1988. Thus began a business relationship which lasted from 1976-1998. During this period, Grusczak completed designs for the following hotels:
Hotel Inter-Continental Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (1976)
Hotel Inter-Continental Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran (1970s)
Forum Hotel Makkah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia (1979)
Hotel Inter-Continental Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany (1980)
Hotel Inter-Continental Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (1981)
Hotel Inter-Continental New York (1983-1998)
Hotel Inter-Continental Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (1986)
Riyadh Inter-Continental Hotel Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (1984 & 1991-1992)
The Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental Hotel, San Francisco, California (1993)
Maui Inter-Continental Resort, Wallea, Maui, Hawaii (1995)
Throughout his career in hospitality design, Grusczak simultaneously completed residential projects, many of which required full architectural and interior design services. These projects were located both within the United States and in such places as Jumera, Dubai; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Lausanne, Switzerland.
Grusczak’s prolific and meticulous design talent merited him numerous awards and honors, including:
ASID Merit Award to Charterhouse Designs, Ltd. in 1979 and 1980 in recognition of outstanding contribution and service to the Interior Design Profession
1985 Winner of “Special Recognition” for the design concept and aethestics for a Luxurious Bathroom, Hotel installation, sponsored by the American Hotels & Motel Association Gold Key Awards and exhibited at the New York Coliseum.
1986: Honorable Mention, American Society of Interior Designers, Interior Design competition, Contract category for the installation: Executive Suite, Hotel InterContinental New York.
1987: First Place Winner in a national design competition sponsored by Lodging Hospitality, for the Presidential
1988: First place winner in a national design competition sponsored by Lodging Hospitality. Installation: Guestrooms, Hotel InterContinental New York.