Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inspiring Icons/ Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard

The interior scheme he produced for the Saarinen designed Miller House in Indianapolis, USA
An example of Girard's fabrics being applied to the Eames chair and pillow designed for a Girard project 
Left: Todd Oldman and Keira Coffee's book on Alexander Girard,
The cover evoking one of Girard's textile designs: Right
Products are still available bearing Girard's design's at DWR and Vitra
Girard's Corporate Identity/ Branding for Braniff Airways
More examples of Girard's graphics
More examples of Girard's graphics
Alexander Girard later in life
Left: The chair designed by Charles Eames especially for the project as seen in picture
Right: Le Fonda de Sol Restaurant in The Time Life Building, NYC
Left: The menu for Le Fonda de Sol, Right: The interior looking towards the kitchen
Motifs, Chairs and Menu all designed for Le Fonda de Sol Restaurant in The Time Life Building, NYC
His wife Susan and Alexander Girard in 1958 in The Herman Miller Showroom in San Francisco

Some examples of furniture Girard designed and collaborations with Charles Eames and George Nelson using fabric he designed for Maharm

Alexander Girard (May 24, 1907 – 1993) affectionately known as "Sandro", was an architect and a textile designer born in NYC 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.

One of my biggest design hero's Alexander Girard's work was so prolific that I can't possibly demonstrate it here in one blog post, but I have tried to give you an overview of his world, One that has heavily inspired many including myself. Alexander Girard worked with some of the best in the industry working with fellow contemporaries such as Ray & Charles Eames, George Nelson, Eero Saarinen to name but a few. He worked for many years for
Herman Miller  Starting in 1952, He headed up the Fabric & Textile division.

While at Herman Miller, Girard created more than 300 textile designs, including wallpaper, drapery, and upholstery fabrics. His most significant influences were motifs from Mexico and Central and South America, but he borrowed liberally from the traditions of more than 100 countries visited during a lifetime of collecting folk art. 

Here are couple of his major projects:
La Fonda del Sol Restaurant
Girard's designs for La Fonda del Sol Restaurant in New York's Time-Life Building were among his most memorable work. He created the complete environment for the restaurant-from the Southwestern-style fabrics and intricate tile work to the decorative china, evocative menus, and iconic brass sun that informed the entire design. I know the space exactly where the restaurant was as I worked for a period in The Time Life Building, I always wished it was still there. 

Brandiff Airlines
Girard also developed a furniture collection for Herman Miller in 1967 building on his designs for Braniff Airlines' lounge and office furniture which featured a low sight line and interior/exterior shell separate from the seat cushion to maximize varied upholstery.The Brandiff Project gave Girard the opportunity to work with textiles, color, and graphics on a grand scale, redesigning everything from the sugar packets to the ticket counters to the color of the planes themselves. He used colors like light and dark blue, beige, ochre, orange, turquoise, and muted yellow to make the planes recognizable from the ground. Italian couturier fashion designer Emilio Pucci designed attendant uniforms.

He also worked with other companies such as Georg Jensen, John Deere and Maharam 

Alexander Girard’s playful patterns, graphics and bright colors are an inspiration to me, His whole application of them to so many areas of design are just astounding. The fact that he was able to wear so many caps and produce such a huge body of work in one lifetime makes me hope that in my career I can achieve even a slice of that.  

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