Alexander Girard: Postwar Modernist Textile Designer
Alexander Girard Textile Designs, Vitra

Alexander Girard: Postwar Modernist Textile Designer

Postwar design has evidently been one of the most influential starting points for many designers, setting the foundation for many modernism-focused creators. 

Throughout the Reseat blogs, we’ve highlighted many postwar modernist designers, such as George Nelson and Ray & Charles Eames, of which have presented many layouts and catalysts for the designs to follow. 

These designers have introduced notorious pieces to the furniture industry, such as the Coconut Chair (George Nelson, 1955) and the Eames Chair (Ray & Charles Eames, 1956), both of which set as a spark to the furniture design industry. 

As much as we love to highlight notorious furniture designs, we’ve left out other mediums, such as textile creation. 

Alexander Girard is a great example of a postwar modernist textile designer.

Alexander Girard

Girard was born in 1907 in New York City, and in his professional career focused his works heavily on fabrics for big-name manufacturers such as Herman Miller. Leaning towards geometric and abstract patterns comprised a majority of his portfolio, with a wide range of color compositions as well. 

Girard was fortunate enough to study architecture in Rome during the early 1920s, and later received an architecture diploma from the Royal Institute of British Architects later that decade. Girard was evidently very academically successful. After achieving his architecture diploma in Britain, he received an Honors in Decoration from the Architectural Association School in London in 1930. He then went on to open an architecture office in Florence the same year. 

It wasn’t too long after opening his architecture office in Florence that he then received yet another diploma from the Royal School of Architecture in Rome. 

When he moved to New York City in 1932, he opened a design office there as well. It wasn’t too long after that where he received a diploma from New York University in 1935. 

Pretty accomplished guy, huh? 

A majority of his fabric designs are still produced today; arguably a major indicator that his designs remain absolutely timeless. They just won’t go out of style. 

Girard covered many fields throughout his day, making his career from many paths of design; covering furniture, exhibition, interior, and graphic design (Vitra). Girard was also quite the traveler, and utilized the inspiration from his travels to influence his art. 

In addition to his textile designs, Girard also painted Wooden Dolls, created his Environmental Enrichment Panels, and many different staple objects one might disperse throughout their space.

Here’s a brief timeline of his designs throughout the years:

1934:

Room for Permanent Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Crafts in New York, NY

1935:

His own NYC Apartment in Easy 70s

1936:

“Modern Garden Apartment” in NYC

Cafe Trouille

Junior League Shop

1937:

Charles Le Pomme Restaurant

1943:

Detrola Radio Designs Factory

1946:

Ford Motor Company Offices in Dearborn, IL

Everyday Art at Walker Arts Center

1947:

Richard W. Jackson Lodge, MI

1948:

Coffee Table for Knoll

1949:

Modern Living at Detroit Institute of Arts

Wollering Home in Birmingham MI

1950:

Designed for MoMA

1951:

Rieveschl House in Grosse Pointe, MI

1952:

Fabric Line for Herman Miller

Wallpaper Line for Herman Miller

1953:

Herman Miller Showroom in Grand Rapids, MI

Good Design Show at MoMA

1954:

Third fabric collection for Herman Miller

1955:

Tableware for Design Program

Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India at MoMA

1956:

Exhibition of table settings for Georg Jensen, NYC

1958:

Herman Miller Showroom in San Francisco, CA

Fourth fabric line for Herman Miller 

1960:

La Fonda Del Sol restaurant in New York, NY

Irwin Miller Cummins office in Columbus, IN

1961:

Second Irwin Miller office in Columbus, IN

T60 Shop in New York, NY

1964:

John Deere mural in Saarinen building in Moline, IL

St. John’s College interiors in Santa Fe, NM

1966:

The Compound restaurant in Santa Fe, NM

L’Etoile Restaurant in New York, NY

1967:

Girard Group furniture line for Herman Miller

1968:

Hermis Fair Exhibit in San Antonio, TX

1971:

Action Office fabric panels for Herman Miller

1974:

Parts of Scoren House in Los Angeles, CA

1981:

Wing of Santa Fe Folk Art Museum