The designer and architect Alexander Girard created a number of restaurant interiors, for which he also developed coordinated objects and accessories. The motifs featured on the Coffee Mugs have their origins and inspiration in these rich and varied environments.
Born in 1907 in New York City, Alexander Girard 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. On his extensive travels, he avidly collected textiles from all over the world, which provided him with a rich source of inspiration and ideas. Alexander Girard passed away in 1993, followed five years later by his wife Susan. She bequeathed the holdings of this collection to the Vitra Design Museum along with the contents of Girard's studio (hundreds of drawings, prototypes and textile samples).