Category Archives: Toys

Alexander Girard

Charming wooden figures by Alexander Girard (1909-1993), architect and textile designer, from 1963. He says ‘ Toys represent a microcosm of man’s world and dreams. They exhibit fantasy, imagination, humour and love. They are an invaluable record and expression of man’s ingenious unsophisticated imagination’…

alexander girard 1

alexander girard 2

…see the Girard Wing of the Museum of International Folk Art. Below, a tray he designed in 1944, now produced by Vitra

alexander girard, tray, 1944

…today, House Industries produces some of Girard’s charming work…

Alexander Girard & House Industries from Bob Smartner on Vimeo.

Below, a fantastic mural Girard created in 1964 for the John Deere head office in Moline, Illinois, housed in architect Eero Saarinen‘s elegant and innovative building, the first to use Cor-Ten steel in such abundance (read Edward Lifson’s post on it here). Read about the mural in The Design Observer Group

Eero Saarinen, John Deere  Headquarters, Moline Illinois

alexander girard, john deere head office, 1964

alexander girard, john deere head office 3 alexander girard, john deere head office 2

…in her essay on Girard’s mural Alexandra Lange says, ‘During the summer of 1963, Girard and his wife Susan crisscrossed the Midwest, buying, at farm auctions and junk shops, the detritus of 19th century farms. He selected not for rarity or pristine condition but for shape, color and texture, weaving the mural in his mind complete with repeating motifs and antiqued tones. One of the last items he and Susan bought was an old straw beehive, found in Ohio, and a corn-husking peg that would complement the apple peeler and the cherry pitter already part of the mural. While most of the objects in the mural are not folk art per se, the models, toys and souvenirs spoke, by the mid-20th century, of a disappearing rural and early industrial past and their crude forms and materials offered the same contrast to the slick surfaces of the new building as folk art did in other Girard interiors and installations’.

…thanks Oliver Tomas and Andrew Romano

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