Prints, Patterns, and Perfection
As the Design Director of Herman Miller’s textile division, Alexander Girard produced a prodigious amount of work. Rapha’s designers delved into the company’s archives to find examples of his finest work from every decade of his tenure.
The Herman Miller archive isn’t a dusty alcove or forgotten basement. In a warehouse across the street from company’s modern design studios, the Herman Miller archive holds tens of thousands of products, artefacts, and photographs on row after row of ‘highlow’ stacked shelving. (Part of the fun of working as an archivist is learning how to operate the basket cranes used to access the out of reach items.)
Alexander Girard’s contribution to this archive is significant. His contemporaries at Herman Miller – Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson, and other heavyweights of American design – were famous for running substantial studio teams of talented junior designers and specialists, but this didn’t suit Girard. Instead, he favoured a hands-on approach, working with just four or five artists and associates. But the smaller team didn’t limit his ambition; in his time as Director of Design at Herman Miller, Girard produced reams of graphics, textiles, architectural drawings, exhibitions, and furniture.
Born in New York City and raised in Florence, Girard’s appetite for travelling and exploration informed much of his work. Stage 2’s cap takes inspiration from flags he saw at the Palio di Siena horse race in Italy, a yearly competition in which neighbourhoods select riders to represent them on a gallop through the city’s streets. Other prints in the cap collection draw on sources as varied as folk art, architectural drawings, and abstract forms.
Unlike Ray and Charles Eames, who were known to periodically revisit and refine their works, Alexander Girard had a more pragmatic approach, preferring to get designs out of the door without lingering, as such he created over 300 original textiles. The Rapha Herman Miller collaboration delves into his extensive and iconic library.
Under Cali Skies
Our celebration of the Tour of California includes a partnership with an iconic design house, an interview with a local pro and a packed schedule of events.