alexander girard design Alexander Girard Designer

Alexander Girard (b. 1907), USA.

Alexander Girard Biography:

Alexander Girard (May 24, 1907 – January 31, 1993) affectionately known as Sandro, was an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, industrial designer and a textile designer. Girard was one of the leading figures of postwar American mid-century modern design, along with his close friends and colleagues George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames. He was born in New York City to an American mother from Boston and a French-Italian father. He was raised in Florence, Italy. A graduate of the Royal School of Architecture in Rome, Girard refined his skills in both Florence and New York. Alexander Girard became director of design for Herman Miller's textile division in 1952, a time when fabrics, especially in the office, tended toward the utilitarian, drab and pattern-less. “People got fainting fits if they saw bright, pure color,” Girard commented at the time. At Herman Miller, Girard had the freedom to express himself. With primary colors, concise geometric patterns, and a touch of humor, he injected joy and spontaneity into his designs. During his tenure, he created over 300 textile designs in multitudes of colorways, wallpapers, prints, furniture, and objects. Girard's work with Herman Miller continued until 1973 and included spicing up the Action Office system with a series of decorative panel fabrics. Born in New York City and raised in Florence, Girard was educated in Europe as an architect. He began practicing architecture and interior design in the late 1920s. The exhibition he curated for the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1949—“For Modern Living”—celebrated postwar modernism. Girard developed a friendship with Charles Eames in the 1940s when the two men realized they had coincidently designed almost identical modern radio cabinets and were both experimenting with plywood chairs. Girard's reputation soared in 1959, when his zestful interior design of the La Fonda del Sol restaurant in New York electrified the public. He designed the entire experience for the restaurant—interior, graphics, place settings, staff uniforms. Girard reprised the feat for Braniff International Airways in the mid 1960s, designing no less than 17,543 different items—from logo to lounge furniture. The oeuvre of Alexander Girard includes his joyful wooden Alexander Girard Dolls, Modern Prints and mid century themed Wallpaper.

Alexander Girard Textile Design:

The primary focus of his wide-ranging oeuvre was textile design: as head of the textile division at the Herman Miller Company, Girard created numerous textile patterns and products reflecting his love of festive colours, patterns and textures. He favoured abstract and geometric forms in a variety of different colour constellations, typically featuring a cheerful palette. His upholstery fabrics remain as timely and vital as ever with many of them still being sold today. Having originally studied architecture, Girard made a name for himself over his long career in the fields of furniture, exhibition and interior design as well as in the graphic arts. On his extensive travels, he avidly collected textiles from all over the world, which provided him with a rich source of inspiration and ideas. Alexander Girard passed away in 1993, followed five years later by his wife Susan. She bequeathed the holdings of this collection to the Vitra Design Museum along with the contents of Girard's studio (hundreds of drawings, prototypes and textile samples). Girard's risky, sometimes iconoclastic fabrics were inspired not by a vision of the future but by a love of international folk art. His passion for what he called “toys” led him around the globe, amassing a collection of roughly 106,000 pieces. These colorful, whimsical objects inspired him, as his designs continue to inspire us.

Alexander Girard Wooden Dolls:

Together with his friends Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson, Alexander Girard played a key roll in developing modernism in the US during the middle of the 20th century. A key source of inspiration for his wide-ranging oeuvre, which primarily focused on textile design, was his passion for the folk art of South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The decorative Wooden Dolls, designed and made by Girard for his own home in Santa Fe, were likewise inspired by his extensive personal collection of folk art. Part decorative object, part toy, the Wooden Dolls were originally created for Girard's own use. Based on originals found in the Girard Estate held by the Vitra Design Museum, the whimsical assortment of dolls, both joyful and grim, is now available as a charming enhancement to any interior.His simple yet intuitive designs, available from Stardust, bear the mark of design classics and are easy to incorporate in existing decorative schemes.

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