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Influential textile designer’s work comes to Cranbrook

Associated Press

Bloomfield Hills — Cranbrook Art Museum hosts the U.S. debut of an exhibition featuring the work of an influential modernist designer who was less well known than many of his contemporaries.

In the '50s, Alexander Girard served as head of the textile and fabric division of Herman Miller.

“Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe” opened Saturday at the Bloomfield Hills museum. It features hundreds of examples of Girard’s work, including furniture, textiles, graphics, architecture, drawings and sculptures.

Corporate Design for Braniff International Airways, 1965.
The Miller House, Columbus, Indiana.

Organizers say Girard embraced and helped shape a mid-century modernism employed by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and others. Museum Director Andrew Blauvelt calls Girard “the secret sauce” in a movement that embraced whimsy, color and decor — things European modernists had earlier rejected.

Textiles & Objects Shop New York City, designed by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, 1961.
A detail from the Miller House, Columbus, Indiana.

The Italy-raised Girard, who lived in Michigan from 1937 to 1953, was Herman Miller’s director of textile design for 21 years.

Miller Cottage, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, Alexander Girard, 1950–1952.
Alexander Girard, in his studio in the early 1950s.

The exhibit runs through Oct. 8.

For tickets and more information go to the Cranbrook Museum website.