Alexander Girard: An Uncommon Vision

The High Line room of the Standard Hotel pays witness to the vibrant pieces Alexander Girard created as Director of Design of the Textiles Department at Herman Miller.

Alexander Girard: An Uncommon Vision” isn’t just a retrospective of Girard’s striking work, it illustrates how timeless design can carry through the decades. From lounge pieces designed for Branniff Airlines in the ’60s that bring to mind images of Pan Am at its best, to rich fabric work chock-full of colorful energy, Girard’s influence on mid-century design is apparent and alluring – not to mention contemporary by 21st century standards.

As a versatile designer, Girard, who was also a trained architect, brought beauty and functionality to every project he faced, be it for a corporate space or a creative textile. In fact, he is credited with bringing “aesthetic functionalism” to office environments in 1972 by way of vibrant decorative silkscreens that would fit into the most stylish of living rooms today.

Girard’s balanced outlook is alive throughout the entire exhibit. The Color Wheel ottoman, the Splayed Leg table and Hexagonal table are just some of the exceptional pieces that encapsulate his hallmark style of fashionable form and function. Adding extra interest to these pieces is the fact that they have been reissued for the occasion, bringing these archival designs back for the first time since being produced in 1967 for commercial sale.

While Girard was known to be reserved, his designs are everything but. Feeding off the folkloric nature of his outpost in Santa Fe, New Mexico and his many adventures around the world, Girard created a worldly range of textiles, wall hangings, wall papers, furniture and prints that featured a multitude of color ways and cultural references. His interest in global culture, high-design and usefulness marry to perfection as showcased in the Herman Miller pop-up exhibit, explaining why his uncommon vision remains pleasing to the eye today.

The exhibition ran throughout the recent NYCxDESIGN week – for more information, please visit the official page on Herman Miller’s website. – Christina Thornell

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