Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Every Little Thing

I spent part of last weekend at the Michigan Modern symposium, giving a talk on Alexander Girard, a decade-long inhabitant of the tony Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe and a longtime designer for Zeeland’s Herman Miller. I heard talks about roadside architecture, the origins of the shopping mall, and the origins of Herman Miller’s ongoing design excellence. Though designers from Detroit (and former furniture capital Grand Rapids) often took their talents to Los Angeles, New York, Santa Fe, all of the participants struggled to define what these famous and not-so-famous names learned from Michigan. I thought the answer was all around us, where we ate, where we listened, where we walked.