I think I’ve said, more than once probably, that the Web is an amazing thing. It’s like being an explorer, or maybe it’s more like being a detective. You find a clue and that clue leads you to another clue and that clue leads you to three more, and then, lo and behold, you solve the mystery.
Or in my case, you stop looking.
A couple of weeks ago we went to Columbus, Indiana. For those of you who are not familiar with this small city, it is the home of Cummins Engines, a gigantic multinational corporation, headquartered in this very interesting midwest town. What makes it so interesting is the architecture.
The president of Cummins was a big fan and supporter of modern design and architecture. He basically told the town fathers that if they picked an architect from his list for any public building, he, J. Irwin Miller, would pick up the cost of the architect fees.
And so, some truly amazing buildings were built. Many by Eero Saarinen. We’re talking schools, churches, banks; everyday ordinary type of buildings designed by extraordinary architects. And yet, despite all of this world class architecture and sculpture (Henry Moore in front of the Library), the town is real, with real people living there. It’s not a showcase — well not just a showcase.
One of the most interesting houses is the one that Saarinen did for J. Irwin Miller and his family. It is beautiful inside and out. The inside was designed by Alexander Girard.
That is a new name for me, but it turns out that he is really a BIG DEAL in the world of design. Here’s some of the things he did, beside the Miller House:
Designed textiles for Hermann Miller to put on the Charles and Ray Eames furniture
Redesigned Braniff Air Lines. Remember this?
Designed the interiors for La Fonda del Sol Restaurant in New York City. Another piece of nostalgia.
Designed table settings for George Jensen.
And, here is the coincidence part. He designed the exhibit that houses his collection of over 100,000(!) folk art pieces in the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico that Len and I visited in 2013. We remember the exhibit well. It was overwhelming! And not always in a good way. I would never associate that exhibit with the man who did such gorgeous designs.
But it sure was an adventure learning about Alexander Girard.
And for the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging from France! We will be in our house in Mirabel for three weeks and a bit and then onto Colorado for Thanksgiving with the oldest grandchildren and their parents.
A bientot, mes amis.