Christmas magic, a source of inspiration

Christmas and winter holidays have always been inspiring for designers and for artists, in general. The cozy atmosphere, the bright decorations, the joy of giving and the symbolism of Christmas carols are some of the elements that invite creativity. The Vitra universe is, through the unique visions of some of the designers, a gateway to the magic of Christmas.

Alexander Girard, one of the leading figures in American design during the post-war era, created a series of images which fit perfectly into the festive atmosphere. Vitra, in cooperation with Girard’s family, selected those images to create bright decorative pendants manufactured from golden metal, which can be used to decorate the tree and also some areas in the house. The Girard Ornaments with Heart, Dove, Angel, Star or Moon motifs can be great Christmas tree decorations, but you can also offer them as a gift for the loved ones. 

Girard grew up in Florence, Italy, and his childhood was marked by church ceremonies such as the nativity scenes, but he was mostly inspired by the Christmas tradition of bringing people together to celebrate life and creation. The winter holidays held a special place in his heart – a reason why the designer’s creations evoke elements specific to Christmas.

His grandchildren remember the joy and enthusiasm that their grandfather had when it came to Christmas presents. Alexander Girard manufactured the gifts for the loved ones himself, instead of buying them. Wooden cabinets, engraved bangles, paintings and all kind of boxes (made from different materials like stone, wood, brass) – these are just a few examplaes of objects made by Girard for his wife, kids and grandchildren. He would also hand-drawn cards for every member of his family. Wrapping Christmas presents was also important to Alexander. 

„For us as grandchildren, Christmas Eve was the most magical time. Stacks of boxes robed in sheets of white tissue, each one bound with a different, vibrantly coloured ribbon. Tiny paper cards with the familiar round handwriting indicating which package was meant for each of us. Seeing these gifts gathered round the base of the tree and the anticipation of what might be inside almost outweighed the excitement about the actual gift within.” – Aleishall Girard, granddaughter of Alexander Girard

Charles and Ray Eames, the iconic couple that shaped the values and voice of Vitra, moved in the Eames House on Christmas Eve. The Eames House was built in 1949 by the couple in order to serve both as their home and a studio, during a Case Study House program conceived by the magazine Arts & Architecture, which challenged architects to design progressive, but modest houses. The two spent the first hours in what would become their forever home, hanging decorations from the living room ceiling and decorating the Christmas tree.

 

Over the years, the Eames House was constanly enriched with new decorative elements and also with their own furniture designs. The house became a playground for the couple, who was convinced that it is important to experiment in order to learn and grow. But of all the periods of the year, the house always looked best at Christmas. Charles and Ray Eames imagination had no limits when it came to Christmas. One year, the couple made a Christmas tree from upended plywood chair legs, decorated with lit holiday candles. 

Just like Alexander Girard, Charles Eames also loved to send Christmas cards made by him, with various illustrations and wishes for loved ones. With a few markers and a sheet of paper, Charles would make true works of art to be gifted during the holidays. Churches, animals, houses and landscapes – all these elements inspired him in the process of creating the hand-drawn cards. 

In the Vitra Universe, Christmas is all about family, quality time spent with loved ones, and creating lifelong memories, but it is also about the beauty that surrounds us, the joy brought by art and handmade gifts with a strong personal touch. 

Merry Christmas from our Project1 family, to yours!

Images: 

Charles & Ray Eames, Timothy Street-Porter, © Eames Office, LLC

© Eames Office, LLC, 2017; © Studio Girard, LLC, 2017  

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