An idea that took flight.
17,543 Ways to Transform the "Plain Plane"
As Director of Design for Herman Miller from 1952 to 1973, Alexander Girard focused his talents on establishing and growing the Textile Division. But his freelance life was a rich one, and in 1965, he acquired a new client: Braniff International Airways.
Hired to orchestrate what amounted to a complete overhaul of Braniff's brand experience, Girard directed a comprehensive scheme that signaled "the end of the plain plane." Within this new system, Girard made an impressive 17,543 design changes that included everything from playing cards and matchbooks, to baggage tags and tickets, to the interiors of the planes themselves.
From Airports to Living Spaces
As part of the new brand identity, the company's airport lounges also received Girard's attention. In turn, he designed new sofas, lounge chairs, café seating, and tables for the airline's customers. Two years later, in 1967, the Braniff designs were commercialized into the Girard Group—his only collection of furnishings for Herman Miller.
Vibrant and full of personality, the collection—only produced for one year—was meant to be a beautiful, versatile solution for a variety of settings. "My group of furniture designs resembles the chameleon: its character remains intact yet its skin texture and color change to suit the environment," Girard wrote. "The permutations are infinite." The Color Wheel Ottoman represents the first archival reproductions of Girard's adaptable, imaginative furniture.