Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Girard the Magnificent

The bulk of Alexander Girard’s work exists in a nameless field that synthesizes architecture, interior design, decoration and display. This adaptability and lack of snobbery put him at the center of the mid-century design world, working for the best clients and with the best colleagues. He used the same techniques and structures to organize the interior of J. Irwin Miller’s Eero Saarinen-designed home (1955) as he did to launch Herman Miller’s first and only retail shop, Textiles and Objects (1961). It was this self-effacement, personal and architectural, that allowed items as diverse as Eames chairs and Mexican ceramics, Indian rugs and early threshers all to look at home, and like objects of high design, in a Girard display. Girard was interested in important areas many architects eschew: texture, shape, tiny accessories, while simultaneously being a master of layered, gridded orthogonal space.