Born in Brooklyn New York in 1920, Norman Cherner’s designs are part of the iconography of mid-20th Century furniture design. He is recognised as one of the most original of a generation of designers that explored post-war technological innovations in architecture and industrial design. He studied and taught at the Columbia University Fine Arts department and was an instructor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1947-1949. Cherner’s training in the Bauhaus tradition led to a lifelong exploration informed by the belief that all design stems from one discipline. His chairs, tables and case goods have shown an enduring popularity since their introduction nearly fifty years ago. The moulded plywood Cherner Chair, designed for Plycraft in 1958, has become an icon of mid-twentieth century design and can be found in galleries and design collections worldwide, including the Vitra Museum.
Housing was in enormous demand in the US during the Postwar era, with the GI Bill, the baby boom and the surge of postwar prosperity. Cherner was determined to make affordable design a reality. He created a prototype for prefabricated housing that, although it was not commercially successful, he transported to Connecticut and used as his own home and studio in the late 1950s. He published books on the subject of affordable design throughout the 1950s, including, Make Your Own Modern Furniture (1953), How to Build a House for Less than $6000 (1957), and Fabricating Houses from Component Parts (1958).
But it was the plywood chair that Cherner is best known for, and the story of its creation is fascinating.
The Cherner Chair Company, founded by Norman Cherner’s sons Benjamin and Thomas in 1999, is the sole authorized licensor of Cherner’s designs, and they work off of his original drawings and specifications. The company produces Cherner’s original armchair, side chair, barstool and counter stool, as well as his other designs.
This timeless design deserves deepest bow and all honor – Christine Leja