Research: Alexander Girard


At New Century Design we like a maverick. Someone that doesn’t quite fit a mould. Someone that tries their hand at something completely new, even without formal training. Someone that pushes the boundaries of one’s practice and creates something beyond expectations.

As part of our on-going visual research, we turn our attention to a true design maverick. Having originally studied architecture, Alexander Girard mastered textile and furniture design, illustration, graphic design and interior designer.

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Born in 1907 in New York City, Alexander Girard was one of the leading figures of postwar American design, along with his close friends and colleagues George Nelson and Charles & Ray Eames.

Girard’s abstract forms, geometric patterns and bold colourful graphics and illustrations were applied to textile and fabric collections, interiors for restaurants and hotels, book covers and aeroplanes wings, to name a few.

As well as working as the Director of Design for Herman Miller’s textile division from 1952 to 1973, Girard is also best known for his work at La Fonda del Sol, a Manhattan restaurant that opened in the Time-Life Building in 1960. Creating over eighty different sun motifs found throughout the restaurant, Girard designed every aspect including menus, matchbooks, tableware and the ceramic tiles on the floors and walls.

Girard brought together what the modern had once separated: craftsmanship and industry, folk art and modern pop culture, as well as high and low art. He introduced new energy, new colours, and new inspirations into the realm of design.

ResearchGeorge Atherton