Alexander Girard’s playful patterns and bright colors were a relief from the otherwise stodgy and often colorless domestic world of post-war America.
Girard came to the attention of Herman Miller through his friendship with Charles Eames. In the 1940s the two men realized they had coincidentally designed almost identical modern radio cabinets and were both experimenting with plywood chairs. Eames introduced him to George Nelson, who invited Girard to join Herman Miller in 1952 as director of the newly created textile division.
Herman Miller was in need of modern fabrics to complement its modern designs. According to the company’s founder D.J. De Pree, “[Girard] was the one to lend excitement to the designs of Nelson and Eames.” Girard saw his job simply as making life a little better through fabrics. Drawing inspiration from his architectural training, Girard developed a textile collection consisting of primary colors and geometric patterns. A colorful contrast to the prevailing style, the collection was a critical and market success.
Girard’s love of color, pattern, and texture, his gifted imagination and courage to express his own aesthetic freedom, made him an influential force in modernism. Girard was an artist and innovator who brought a human element of delight to everything he touched.
Many of Girard’s textile designs are being produced today by Maharam.