The Compound Restaurant

A Vitra Anecdote

The Compound Restaurant interior in Santa Fe. The walls are pale white; only interrupted by curves and metal wall reliefs.

Alexander Girard designed several restaurants, including the Latin American themed La Fonda del Sol in 1960 and the luxurious L’Etoile in 1966, both located in New York City. Girard’s restaurant concepts always offered solutions for the whole environment, encompassing the design of custom furniture, textiles, menus, tableware, staff attire and much more.

Along with Alexander Girard’s private home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Compound restaurant was one of just a few local works. Before its incarnation in 1966, this adobe home was the central structure of a group of buildings on Canyon Road known as the McComb Compound.

The rooms were equipped with simple furniture perfectly suited to the bright tablecloths and table settings.

Unlike most of Girard’s richly ornamented and sumptuously coloured collages of patterns and objects, the detailing and furnishings in the Compound restaurant are characterised by a plainer, more rural charm. Girard revisited the folk-art-inspired style he had developed in his Santa Fe home, applying local colours and motifs to a stark white adobe interior broken up by niches, rectangular archways, adobe banquettes jutting from the walls and unadorned windows that look out onto the landscaped patio. Girard designed the compact logo as well as dinnerware, napkins and matchbooks.

As visual centrepieces for adjoining dining rooms, Alexander Girard created two metal wall reliefs: a sun and a moon – favourite symbols that also appear in numerous interiors and graphic designs by Girard.

The Compound is the only restaurant designed by the architect that still exists today, and except for a few changes over the years, its original condition has been preserved. For Alexander Girard aficionados, the Compound restaurant is definitely worth a visit.



Publication Date: 10.12.2015
Author: Stine Live Buur
Images: © Girard Studio LLC, 2015