Sunburst Clock Walnut
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In 1947, the American designer George Nelson was commissioned to create a collection of clocks. Nelson analysed how people used clocks and concluded that they read the time by discerning the relative position of the hands, which made the use of numbers unnecessary. Furthermore, since most people wore wristwatches, he assumed that clocks had become more of a decorative element for interiors.
These ideas provided the basis for the first collection of 14 timepieces, consisting of a completely new style of wall clocks and compact table clocks, which were launched on the market in 1949. Although the models all shared one common feature – the absence of numbers – the diversity of their shapes, colours, materials and designs could hardly have been greater.
In the 35 years that followed, the designers at Nelson Associates conceived more than a hundred different clock models: wall clocks, portable table clocks and built-in clocks. After Nelson’s death in 1986, his archival estate, encompassing roughly 7400 manuscripts, plans, drawings, photographs and slides dating from 1924 to 1984, was acquired by the Vitra Design Museum.
With his collection of Wall Clocks (1948-1960), George Nelson conceived a wide array of timepieces, many of which have since become icons of 1950s design.
Vitra began reissuing the Nelson Clocks in 1999 and continues to expand the collection with new pieces from time to time. The Wall Clocks come in diverse shapes and materials. Equipped with high-quality quartz movements, they offer a refreshing alternative to conventional clocks – including a wide selection of different designs to suit almost every taste and fancy.
Born in 1907 in New York City, Alexander Girard was one of the leading figures of postwar American design, along with his close friends and colleagues George Nelson and Charles & Ray Eames.
The primary focus of his wide-ranging oeuvre was textile design. Girard created numerous fabrics for the Herman Miller Company, favouring abstract forms and geometric patterns in a wide variety of colour compositions. Many of his upholstery fabrics remain as timely and vital as ever and are still manufactured and utilised by Vitra today.
Having originally studied architecture, Girard made a name for himself over his long career in the fields of furniture, exhibition, interior and graphic design. Moreover, he was one of the world's most important collectors of folk art. The objects and textiles acquired by Girard on his extensive travels provided him with a rich source of inspiration and ideas. When Rolf Fehlbaum, the son of Vitra's founding family, first visited Alexander Girard and his wife Susan at their Santa Fe home in 1960, Fehlbaum wrote a letter to his parents telling of the deep impression it had made on him, and describing it as the most fascinating house he had ever seen in the United States.
Vitra and the Vitra Design Museum have devoted themselves to the reappraisal and revival of Alexander Girard's work over the past several years. The growing Girard collection in Vitra's product portfolio includes his painted Wooden Dolls, the Environmental Enrichment Panels and various furniture pieces and objects, along with his distinctive fabric designs.
After Alexander Girard's death in 1993, his heirs donated the Girard archive (comprising hundreds of drawings, prototypes and samples) to the Vitra Design Museum. In 2016/17, the museum mounted the exhibition 'Alexander Girard: A Designer's Universe'.