Rare Beer Pitcher from La Fonda del Sol
USA, c. 1960
Alexander Girard

Screenprint on glass
8 × 6½ × 7¾”

“The most important statement, more durable than the totality of the planning, the props, or the color was the assertion that the prime concern of environmental design was how people feel in a space. This is Girard’s message and main contribution. At a time when modern architecture was rapidly becoming a larger, more standardized aspect of the corporate establishment, the success of La Fonda whetted our appetites for more romantic, diversified spaces.” — Jack Lennor Larson, Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe

As the longtime design director of Herman Miller’s textile division, Girard is best known for softening the severity of modernism with his aptitude for color, pattern, and humor. Over the course of his career, he designed three restaurants. The first, La Fonda del Sol (1960–1971) had been the most sophisticated “theme restaurant” New Yorkers have seen up to that point. Celebrated by foodies and architecture critics alike, Girard’s festive 365-seat Latin American dreamscape in the Time & Life building included an actual adobe house, an open grill framed by a flamboyant typographic wall, a myriad of folk art tableaux, and a sensational 11-foot brass sun whose parts moved with the help of an overhead fan. —Architectural Digest

(Photo: Wright & Architectural Digest)