“Somewhere here we are going to wind up using the word ‘collector’ and I want to say immediately that I don’t care for the word at all. I don’t really know what I could call it. It is more a matter of selecting than collecting and yet a ‘selector’ sounds like something you would find on a kitchen appliance.” - Alexander Girard
Every season we describe our work as 'Collections' or within the WORLD Beauty environment we have collections of products...but as Girard points out, perhaps a better way to describe them is to name them our 'Selections'.
Alexander " Sandro" Girard grew up in Florence, Italy, the son of an American mother and an Italian father. As a child he was fascinated by nativities, toys, and miniatures. Girard first began collecting folk art in the 1930's, buying a few pieces in New York, starting with a spatter-painted Mexican bank in the shape of a horse. Later, on a postponed honeymoon, Alexander and Susan Girard traveled to Mexico and returned with a carload of things for their home, the beginnings of what was to become the largest collection of cross-cultural folk art in the world. His “selection” of some 106,000 objects – the largest collection in the world – can be visited at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Girard was drawn to items that were, in his words “unsophisticated or naïve in character; ingenious in concept; direct in expression; sincere in creation; bounded by the vigorous limitation of a tool, a material, a handcraft, or a machine process.” Girard filled many roles: He was a designer, architect and interior designer. He was a stylist and decorator; an inventor, creator and exhibition curator, an observer and story-teller, and, to some, a prophet and a magician.
Girard is widely known for his contributions in the field of American textile design, particularly through his work for Herman Miller (Head of Fabric & Textile Division - 1952 to 1975), where he was one of the leading figures of postwar American design, along with his close friends and colleagues George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames.
The primary focus of his wide-ranging oeuvre was textile design: as head of the textile division at the Herman Miller Company, Girard created numerous textile patterns and products reflecting his love of festive colours, patterns and textures. He favoured abstract and geometric forms in a variety of different colour constellations, typically featuring a cheerful palette. His upholstery fabrics remain as timely and vital as ever with many of them still being sold today. Having originally studied architecture, Girard made a name for himself over his long career in the fields of furniture, exhibition and interior design as well as in the graphic arts.
At WORLD we have been fortunate enough to celebrate Girard's work not just as admirers but also as retailers of his fabulous ideas, for more to discover and enjoy. The decorative Wooden Dolls, designed and made by Girard for his own home in Santa Fe, were inspired by his extensive personal collection of folk art. Part decorative object, part toy, the Wooden Dolls were originally created for Girard’s own use. Based on originals found in the Girard Estate held by the Vitra Design Museum, the whimsical assortment of dolls, both joyful and grim, are now available as a charming enhancement to any interior.
View the collection online or instore at WORLD Beauty Stores Ponsonby/Wellington/Newmarket/Britomart/Christchurch.