While we’ve already taken a look at designers such as Milo Baughman, Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll we’re ready to learn more about the lesser known names of mid-century design. And thus we introduce you to Alexander Girard. His name may not perhaps come to mind when you’re thinking about famous designers if you’re not a design buff, but trust us when we say that many of the iconic pieces you know today wouldn’t have to come to fruition if it wasn’t for him.
1. Alexander Girard was heavily involved in all aspects of design- he was a trained architect, an interior designer, an industry designer, a furniture designer and a textile designer. The pieces we most commonly know him for today in our homes are the classic Eames chairs. In 1952 Alexander Girard was hired to head textile department for Herman Miller with George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames and created some of the most iconic styles.
2. Aside from his work with Charles and Ray Eeams, Girard also established a fabric collection based on his previous architectural training. At the beginning of the design process his textiles consisted of plain fabric and ones with simple geometric prints. He later went on to create items with more patterns because he was inspired by folk art and the Mexican textile mill that he was working with.
3. In 1965 Girard rebranded Braniff Airlines from top to bottom and called the design process “the end of the plain plane”. He redesigned everything from the tiniest details of the sugar packets handed out on the planes with the customers coffee and tea, to the ticket counters and even the colors of the planes. His overall goal was to be able to make the actual planes recognizable as Braniff Airlines even from the ground. Fashion designer Emilio Pucci got involved too and designed the uniforms that the flight attendants would wear while representing Braniff.
4. Along with the brand redesign for Braniff Airlines, Girard also branched out into a new artistry. While working for the company he ended up designing the line of furniture for the ticket offices and customer lounges. He built off of these designs and created a line of furniture for Herman Miller in 1967. These items were only in production for one year, so are very rare and highly desirable.
5. In 1960 Girard designed La Fonda Del Sol, a restaurant located in the Time-Life building in Manhattan. Much like Braniff Airlines, he was involved in every aspect of the design process. From designing the matchbooks and menus to the tableware and ceramics, he was responsible for it all. Charles and Ray Eames were also commissioned to work with Girard to design special fabric covered shell chairs for the establishment.