Norman Cherner, American, (1920-1987).
Norman Cherner was an American self-taught architect and industrial designer. He became famous for his classic pretzel-shaped Cherner Chair, a classic of mid-century modern furniture design. A pioneer both in molded plywood and prefab housing, Norman Cherner 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 to 1949. Here he also explored the Bauhaus movement, embarking on a lifetime exploration of multidisciplinary design, from furniture, shelving, glassware, lighting and even toys to his pioneering work in low-cost prefabricated housing. Early in his career, Cherner envisioned houses as a total design concept and designed affordable furniture specifically for these low-cost modular dwellings. He wrote about his theories in Make Your Own Modern Furniture (1953), How to Build Children's Toys and Furniture (1954), Fabricating Houses from Component Parts (1958) and How to Build a House for Less than $6,000 (1960). One of his first prefabricated houses was designed, produced and assembled in 1957 for the U.S. Department of Housing. After being exhibited in Vienna, it was shipped back to Connecticut and uncrated to become his first home and studio.
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. For almost 20 years, Cherner's seating was rarely seen outside of galleries, museums and the living rooms of few lucky collectors. This all changed in 1999, when Cherner's sons Benjamin and Thomas formed the Cherner Chair Company to revive the designs and produce them as their father originally intended.