Wednesday, February 04, 2009

House Girard Collection

House Industries just released a new collection of typefaces and designed objects inspired by the work of mid-century designer Alexander Girard.

As a textile designer for Herman Miller from 1952 to 1973, Alexander Girard collaborated with Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson to form what is widely known as the "Camelot" of design. In the mid-century era of Modernist sterility, Girard's folk art sensibilities softened the hard edges of the prevailing style. His love for typography and use of illustrative lettering was evident in his personal work as well as high-profile pieces such as the renowned International Love Heart.

In creating its own interpretation of the Girard aesthetic, House Industries undertook an extensive research project, exploring four decades of the designer's work archived at Vitra in Germany and Herman Miller in Zeeland, Michigan. A pilgrimage to New Mexico unearthed more reference materials, including Girard's famous Unitarian Church mural in Albuquerque, his collections at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, and more treasures at the home of the Girard family.

For the Alexander Girard fonts, House Industries designers took inspiration from a variety of source materials.

Girard Script was loosely based on Girard's signature as it was always printed on the selvedge of fabrics he designed, as well as an assortment of obscure personal illustrations.

Girard Slab is a practical slab-serif family of four weights and three widths, inspired by the cover of Herman Miller's 1972 fabric designs catalog and the Girard Miller logo. A special features allows the user to toggle the letter connections on and off.

Girard Sky was based on alphabets drawn by John Neuhart and Karl Tani for Girard's famous rebranding of the Braniff International airline in the 1960s.

Girard Sansusie combines a folksy flair with a lettering style evident throughout the Girard oeuvre, most notably on his 1955 Herman Miller fabric catalog.

In the spirit of the Herman Miller Textile and Objects store that served as a showplace for Girard's thoughtfully-curated fabric designs, toys and folk art in the 1960s, the House Industries' Alexander Girard Collection features its own set of Girard-inspired objects. Each of these objects tells its own story while gracefully taking its place in any contemporary living space.

  • A 72-piece wood memory game festooned with illustrations.

  • Sunny faces beam from a set of children's alphabet blocks, originally designed for the San Francisco MoMA show in 2006.

  • Hand-made dolls, designed exclusively for House Industries by Marilyn Neuhart, are made from Mexican cotton with the same loving care as the originals she sewed for the opening of the T&O store in 1961.

  • A nativity set of 11 solid maple pieces is based on an original Girard illustration that hangs in his son's house.

  • Snakes, rabbits, fish and foxes form a menagerie of mystery in a childrens’ puzzle based on a Girard carpet design.

Really beautiful stuff!


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