A Bird’s Story: The Girard Bird

A Vitra Anecdote

Birds were an archetype that showed up in Alexander Girard’s work from his early childhood. Just as he had a deep love of and fascination with the built environment, so too did he have great reverence for nature.

The wooden bird was originally hand-carved out of apple wood, a favourite material of Alexander Girard’s. During the mid-1940s, Girard experimented with a series of stylized sculptures in different materials including glass, foam rubber, corrugated cardboard, driftwood, plywood, and solid wood. These sculptures, including the bird, were then published in the July 1945 issue of Arts & Architecture.
Girard was constantly experimenting with form, material, and method. His keen curator’s eye led him to use not only his own work in his projects, but also that of fellow artists, designers both known and unknown. Drawing on his ever-growing collection and making his own pieces, he was able to choose from a wide range of objects when working for a client or in his own home. He would create or design an object out of fascination with a particular material or new tool; later it would show up in an interior as if it had been made for that specific purpose.

The Girard Bird is a part of the Alexander Girard archive at the Vitra Design Museum and is today brought back to life in close collaboration with the Girard family.

Publication Date: 3.2.2021
Author: Aleishall Girard Maxon & Stine Liv Buur
Images: © 1. The Girard Bird with two other stylized sculptures by Alexander Girard posing on a Girard coffee table. The picture was taken in the private residence of Alexander Girard in Grosse Point. These sculptures, including the Bird, were published in the Arts & Architecture July 1945 issue. Photographer: Unknown. Year: 1945. © Girard Studio, LLC; 2. Vitra;

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