Work of Herman Miller designer featured in exhibit at Saugatuck Center for the Arts

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By Angela Peavey

Saugatuck Center for the Arts


The Saugatuck Center for the Arts opens its 15th anniversary season with an exhibition featuring works by designer Alexander Girard. “TEXTILE PLAY: The Magnificent Eye of Alexander Girard” opens Jan.27 and runs through Mar. 24.


The opening reception for the show is Friday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public. The exhibition is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and during evening events.


“We’re thrilled to bring this visually stunning exhibition to the West Michigan community,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “It shares wonderful stories about Girard’s fascination with color and pattern – stories that fit squarely into our current conversations about the intersection of math, design thinking, and art.”


Armstrong noted that the SCA worked with both the Herman Miller archives as well as private collectors to gather works for the exhibition.


Girard was one of the most meaningful textile designers and interior architects of the Twentieth Century. He had a gifted eye for both the extraordinary and the little details of the world.


As the manager of the Material and Textile Department at Herman Miller, the American-Italian designer created more than 300 different graphic designs in 20 years. Every one of his designs expresses Girard’s affection for strong colors and abstract forms. His textile designs range from brightly colored, floral elements to monochromatic patterns – always including a playful element. Seemingly simple stripes, circles, and triangles became wonderful patterns – and their influence is still felt today.


“Textile Play” features Girard fabrics, screen prints, furniture, and books from Herman Miller’s archives and local collectors. The pieces, along with stories about Girard’s design process, celebrate his vision for using “everyday” shapes and objects, strong colors, and elements from pop art and folk art to create a rich, playful world that continues to be his lasting legacy.


A series of interdisciplinary educational opportunities related to the exhibition are available for children and adults throughout the run of the show. For more about those events or the show, visit The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is located at 400 Culver St., Saugatuck.