“We followed Alexander Girard where he led us because we knew he had impeccable taste and incredible astuteness about space, color and pattern. He provided…emotional attachment.” That was DJ De Pree, Herman Miller’s founder. His relationship with Girard began in 1952 when the designer was hired to head the fabric and textile division. Over the next 20 years Girard’s work with Herman Miller brought him together with designers like the Eameses and George Nelson. His colorful textiles incorporated geometric patterns and folk art-inspired images that gave life and vibrancy to the company’s furniture designs.
It seems fitting with Valentine’s Day fast approaching to take a look at his “Love Heart” (1972) and the “International Heart”(1967) Girard, who grew up in Florence, Italy, said “the whole world must know about itself…The colors vary, their languages vary, but their spirits and aspirations are interwoven into one incredible rich humanity.” The ‘International Heart’ with the word love in 16 languages certainly speaks to that sentiment. In the 1967 Herman Miller catalog the “International Heart” is referred to as “Love Heart” and “A tribute of Love and Friendship to your wife, sweetheart, or customer.” A nice broad sweep there! The price? $2.25 for a 15 1/2 inch square.
While, for me, the singular “Love Heart” is a testament to Girard’s extraordinary skill as a designer. He has taken a simple graphic, boldly red heart and graphically imposed the word love inside it.
And to finish here are some inspiring words from Girard: “The hope for good design lies in those designers who believe in what they do, and who will only do what they believe … contrary to hearsay, it is possible to make a living that way.” I think that rings true for all of us.