After studying business administration 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 began 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. Since that time, the focus of his work has been on the development of new lamps and lighting systems, as well as creating the brand's catalogues, shops and fair stands.
In 1988 the first Tobias-Grau-Shop opened in Hamburg. Since 1999 further shops followed amongst others in Düsseldorf and Cologne.
Tobias Grau created the interior design for the Tobias Grau company building. 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 his collection.
Besides lamps for the home, he began to create 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". They have won numerous design awards, including the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award in gold, the Red Dot Design Award "best of the best".
Tobias Grau's latest creations are the office lighting collection "GO XT", various LED lamps and the "XT PLUG&DIM" switch collection (launched in autumn 2008).
One of the company's youngest projects was the interior design and lighting of an 18-storey office building in Hamburg.