Friday, February 22, 2013

Designer of the Twentieth Century, Alexander Girard

Folk art Church from the Girard foundation, Santa Fe New Mexico

We like to high light the lives of famous designers of the twentieth century.  Alexander Girard, 1907 – 1993 is a American born, multicultural architect trained twentieth century designer of note.  His mother, an American married his father, a Frenchman, after his birth in New York City, they moved to Florence, Italy where he was educated.  He was trained as an Architect, but his design talents varied over a wide arrange of objects and materials.  He honed his skills both in Italy, where he was exposed to some of the greatest architect designers of the period and in New York.

Alexander Girard 1907-1993

He is particularly know for his Textile design work on the cutting edge of design though his work for Herman Miller Design 1952-1975.  He worked creating fabrics for furniture designer by George Nelson, and Charles and Ray Eames.  Together they formed a design team that has influenced the fundamentals of design not only in the United States but the entire rest of the world. His  designs were based on geometrical shapes and forms related to architectural forms.

Pair of Chairs by Girard Herman Miller

He designed for the Braniff Airlines in the 1960's.  This was an effort on the part of Braniff to end the rein of the plain plane.  He worked on everything from the fabrics, the color of the plane itself, the ticket counters even the sugar paper packets.  Braniff had also hired Emilio Pucci to design the flight attendants uniforms.  Girard's colors ranged from both light and dark shades of blue to turquoise, oranges, beige, and tonal yellow.  These colors were used on the planes themselves to make them identifiable with the Braniff brand.  He designed a line of furniture for their ticket offices and the customer lounges, this was produced by Herman Miller and was available to the public in 1967 for one year only.

Sofa designed for Braniff Airlines

He designed the interiors of several major restaurants all over the world.  He did table settings for George Jensen, 1956, that included  flat ware, china and mats.  Girard designed a Mural for the John Deere company.  It consisted of found three dimensional objects.  In 1956, along with Charles Eames, he produced the documentary film, " The Day of The Dead."  Girard brought Italian style to American design.  He was a Renaissance man.

Designs by Alexande Girard

Girard and his wife were collectors of folk art.  They accumulated a large collection from all over the world.  They founded The Girard Foundation, 1962, to house their huge collection of Folk Art.

Fabric Design by Girard


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