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Alexander Girard
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Girard, Alexander

Carroll Gantz
Birth/Death Age: 
1907- 1993
Alexander Girard

US architect and interior designer, Alexander Girard was born in New York City and raised in Florence, Italy. He trained in London, Florence and Rome and began practicing architecture and interior design in the late 1920s. He returned to US in 1932 to open own design office in NY. In 1937 he relocated to Detroit, where a career breakthrough came in 1949 when he designed the Detroit Institute of Art's "For Modern Living," a significant exhibition promoting postwar modernism. In 1952 he became Director of Design for the textile division of the Herman Miller Furniture Company, and injected color, geometric patterns and joyfulness into its fabrics. In 1954 he designed the "Good Design" exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, and in 1959 he designed the interiors of the LaFonda del Sol restaurant in New York. In 1965 he ended the era of the "plain plane" by designing Braniff International’s identity program, including aircraft exterior livery featuring a stylized "BI," interior fabrics, and artwork in Braniff’s gates and lounges featuring the Braniff "Golden Bird." Girard was inspired by his love and collection of traditional folk art, and in 1962 he and his wife Susan established the Girard Foundation in Santa Fe, NM to manage their collection numbering over 100,000 pieces from over 100 countries. The collection was donated to the Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe, in 1976, where he designed a new wing and permanent exhibition for it.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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