Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe

Herman Miller and Maharam are proud to be global sponsors of the first major retrospective on Alexander Girard. Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe that opened at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany in March 2016.

Trained as an architect, but proficient in nearly all design disciplines, Alexander Girard was introduced to Herman Miller through Charles Eames and George Nelson. Believing that “fabrics are a building material,” “as much a part of a room as are the conventional materials of brick, glass, wood, and plaster,” Girard envisioned Herman Miller’s textile program—which he was the founding director of from 1952 until 1973—as a flexible toolkit offering endless variation. Unhampered by contemporary dictums of style and taste, he designed over 300 textiles from his outpost in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The resulting body of work is staggering in its sheer volume and creativity, and thanks to fundamental qualities of beauty and usefulness, remains surprisingly relevant today.

Maharam is a longstanding supporter of Girard’s legacy, having reissued twenty of his designs and counting as part of its Textiles of the 20th Century™ collection. Dedicated to faithfully reissuing the textiles of great multidisciplinary designers past, this ongoing series includes the work of Anni Albers, Charles and Ray Eames, Josef Hoffman, George Nelson, Verner Panton, and Gio Ponti, among others.

Alexander Girard (1907–1993) had a profound impact on 20th century visual culture. In addition to his prolific output at Herman Miller, Girard is noted for his all-encompassing designs of restaurants La Fonda del Sol (1960) and L’Etoile (1966); the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana (1957); and Braniff Airlines (1965). An avid collector of folk art, Girard donated over 100,000 pieces to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, where he designed the permanent exhibition, Multiple Visions: A Common Bond.

Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe will explore his oeuvre through never-before-shown textiles, furnishings, models, small objects, interiors, personal documents, and drawings, while highlighting his inspirations and influences. At the Vitra Design Museum from March 12 through January 29, 2017 before traveling to the United States, the exhibition is designed by the London studio, Raw Edges, and is accompanied by a 500-plus-page catalogue.