Tabulous Tastemaker: Alexander Girard

May 25, 2015

By Tab Byrum

Today we are saluting a designer of many talents, Alexander Girard. Yesterday would have been Girard’s 108th birthday, Girard, also known as Sandro, was a talented architect as well as a designer of interiors, fabrics, and furniture. Born in New York Girard was mainly raised in Florence, Italy and today is known mostly for his textile designs. He based most of his designs on his architectural training as well as designs inspired by folk art.

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( via )

In 1965, Girard began a collaboration with Braniff airlines on a re-branding of the airline called “The End Of The Plain Plane”. This design opportunity gave Girard the opportunity to redesign everything for Braniff, from the ticket counters in the airports, the colors of the airplanes and their interiors. Alexander Girard’s fabric creations consisted of plain looking upholstery fabrics to wild and colorful fabrics that featured stripes, geometric shapes as well as figures and shapes inspired by folk art.

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The interior of a Braniff airliner and new flight attendant uniforms, 1965. 

Alexander Girard went on to design for a variety of clients including restaurants from New York to New Mexico, George Jensen, the John Deere tractor company and in 1982 the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico opened the Girard Wing. The Girard wing houses a permanent exhibition of pop art, toys and textiles from more than 100 nations, Girard personally designed and set up the exhibition and it is still very popular today. Girard died in 1993 in Santa Fe, New Mexico leaving behind a legacy that’s seen as one of the greatest influences on Mid-century design in the world,  join me as we take in some of his works, Enjoy!!!

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A popular Girard pattern for Herman Miller, 1964.

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Window treatments in an Alexander Girard print. 

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Alexander Girard’s personal kitchen, 1948. 

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A set of Girard designed Mid-century plates. 

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I know several people that would love to have this beautiful bike. 

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Daisy Face by Alexander Girard

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Alexander Girard fabric and upholstery on Charles Eames chairs.

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A custom Alexander Girard rug for the Miller House. 

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La Fonda Del Solesta restaurant in New York City by Alexander Girard.

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VitraHaus, London, 2009

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A set of Girard dolls inspired by folk art. 

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Modern alphabet blocks by Girard. 

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Alexander Girard House pillow. 

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Alexander Girard’s Memory Game, I would love to find one of these. 

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An exhibition of Alexander Girard designed textiles while he headed Herman Miller’s textile division. 

Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of Pinterest.

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2 comments

  • miranda

    yes!!! i have been to the miller house in columbus, in! it’s a feast for the eyes. it’s very special the way eero saarinen and alexander girard came together to create that house. love his patterns and folksy-ness

    braniff was such a neat airline. i’m sad we don’t have designs like that anymore. was it them who had the strip concept?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cx7xECjGnU

  • Tab Byrum

    Thanks for the comments Miranda and for checking out the blog. I have put the Miller House on my “to visit” list. I agree about Braniff, that look and colors definitely made flying more fun. Love the “air strip” commercial, thanks for reminding us about that!!!

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