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Alexander Girard’s forgotten textile patterns find new life as rugs

Too pretty to step on

Circle pattern Image via Maharam

Alexander Girard was a man of many design talents. Trained as an architect, he practiced across disciplines—making furniture, designing interiors, patterning wallpapers.

Girard is perhaps best known for his work as Herman Miller’s head of textiles, a title he carried from 1952 to 1973. During that time, Girard designed hundreds of patterns, each with a refined eye toward pattern and geometry.

Drawing with orange pattern.
Original artwork for “Step” textile.

Five of those patterns are now being reissued—three as rugs, two as textiles—by the textile company Maharam, and they include some long-forgotten favorites. Working with Girard’s grandchildren, Maharam’s team uncovered the patterns during a trip to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum a couple of years back.

Black and gray rug
Green rug with blue plus signs

Buried in the archive were five gloriously modern textiles—Check, Circles, Edges, Plus, and Steps. Each of the fabrics has a colorful pattern that feel just as on point today as they did when he created them more than 50 years ago.

Black and white checked rug
Green and pink checked rug

Girard designed the patterns for different purposes. Plus and Step were originally created in 1960 as printed napkins for a restaurant in the Time-Life Building in New York City, while Check was a pattern made in 1956 for Georg Jensen’s table setting. Circles, from 1952, and Edges, from 1962, were taken from a drawing and collage, respectively, and transformed into textiles.

Want to see more of Girard? The first major Alexander Girard retrospective will be heading to Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 2019.

Via: Wallpaper