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Norman Cherner Armchairs

American, 1921-1987

Norman Cherner was an influential designer who explored postwar technological innovations and how to incorporate them into furniture production and architecture. And while its history is complicated, his Cherner chair is one of the most successful examples of mid-century modern molded plywood seating.

Born in New York City, Cherner was an architect and a prolific designer who taught at Columbia University’s Teachers College. An enthusiast of the Bauhaus, he gave lectures in the late 1940s on the principles of the legendary German design school at the Museum of Modern Art.

Cherner was fascinated with the concept of cost-efficient design, and this extended into his pioneering ideas for prefabricated housing. His philosophy was that a modular home should be a complete design concept that included economical furniture and lighting. He published several DIY books, such as How to Build a House for $6,000. Cherner caught the interest of a housing cooperative in upstate New York and was contracted to design and oversee the construction of prefabricated housing in the town of Ramapo. The U.S. Department of Housing assembled a pre-built Cherner home for exhibition in Vienna.

But he is best known for his chair.

In the 1950s, one of George Nelson’s designers, John F. Pile, created the Pretzel chair. It had structural problems and proved too costly to make at Herman Miller, where Nelson was director of design. Production was subcontracted to Massachusetts company Plycraft, but the agreement didn’t last long owing to a dispute between the furniture manufacturers. Based on a recommendation from Nelson, Plycraft sought out Cherner to redesign the chair so that it would be durable and affordable to produce.

Cherner submitted his redesign only to be told that Plycraft had shelved the project. However, Plycraft secretly began producing what would become the Cherner chair under a different name — and Cherner later stumbled across his seat in New York. Cherner sued Plycraft and won. The chair became instantly popular after being featured in a Norman Rockwell illustration for a Saturday Evening Post cover in September of 1961.

Other noteworthy Cherner designs include his Konwiser furniture line, Multiflex storage units and tube lighting. The Museum of Modern Art praised his Konwiser collection as “some of the most progressive furniture designs available to the American public.”

In 1972, Plycraft discontinued production of his chair, and Cherner died in 1987. In 1999, his two sons founded the Cherner Chair Company and began making furniture based on their father's original designs for armchairs, chairs — including the Cherner chair — tables and credenzas.

Find vintage Norman Cherner furniture on 1stDibs today.

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Creator: Norman Cherner
Expertly Restored - Set of 4 "Pretzel" Armchairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Los Angeles, CA
________________________________________ Transforming a piece of Mid-Century Modern furniture is like bringing history back to life, and we take this journey with passion and precis...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Laminate, Wood, Walnut, Bentwood

Vintage Bentwood & Leather "Pretzel" Chair by Norman Cherner
By Norman Cherner
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Vintage Mid-Century arm chair in "Pretzel" design by Norman Cherner, consisting of a lacquered bentwood frame and legs, and having leather cushion and backrest. Made in North America...
Category

1950s American Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Leather, Bentwood

Classic Pair Of Vintage Norman Cherner Plycraft Armchairs c. 1950's
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Buffalo, NY
Classic Pair Of Vintage Norman Cherner for Plycraft Pretzel Armchairs c. 1950's... Great early example,, Seat and back reupholstered in a fun pok a dot and stripped black and white f...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Fabric, Plywood

Norman Cherner Pretzel Chairs in Leather and Wood Frame by Plycraft, Set of 4
By Norman Cherner
Located in Chicago, IL
Pretzel arm chairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft in bleached white wood and ivory faux leather. Good original condition.
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Leather, Maple

Pair of Norman Cherner for Plycraft White Bentwood 'Pretzel' Dining Chairs
By Plycraft, Norman Cherner
Located in New York, NY
PAIR of American Mid-Century 'Pretzel' design dining armchairs with white painted bentwood frames with fan-shaped backs, resting on four curved and tapered legs. (PRICED AS PAIR)
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Wood, Walnut, Paint

Mid-Century Modern "Pretzel" Armchair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Mid-Century Modern "Pretzel" armchair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft. ________________________________________ Transforming a piece of Mid-Century Modern furniture is like bringing...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Wood, Birch, Bentwood

Classic Mid Century Pretzel Arm Chair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Buffalo, NY
Classic mid century Pretzel arm chair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft: Great original condition, Retains original seat and back padded cushion fabric,...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Naugahyde, Plywood

Norman Cherner Armchair
By The Cherner Chair Company, Norman Cherner
Located in Berkeley, CA
Originally introduced in 1958, the iconic molded plywood armchair by Norman Cherner is found in collections worldwide. Reissued in exacting det...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary North American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Armchair
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Originally introduced in 1958, the iconic molded plywood armchair by Norman Cherner is found in collections worldwide. Reissued in exacting det...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Armchair with Metal Base
By The Cherner Chair Company, Norman Cherner
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood stacking chairs by Norman Cherner are perfect for home, office or cafe. The seat is made of laminated plywood of...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner Rare Prototype Armchair for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner
Located in LAGUNA BEACH, CA
Rare Norman Cherner prototype armchair for Plycraft.
Category

1960s American Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Rosewood

Mid-Century modern armchair in walnut by Norman Cherner
By Norman Cherner
Located in Courbevoie, FR
Mid-Century modern armchair in walnut by Norman Cherner. New edition in second hand. Some light scratch on seat. W 67,7cm x D 54,3cm x H 80,2cm - Seat H 45,2cm - Arms 66cm
Category

1950s American Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

Walnut

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Set of 4 Norman Cherner Directional Side Chairs Plycraft
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Set of 6 Norman Cherner Dining Chairs, Made by Plycraft, USA, 1963. 2 Arm Chairs
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Norman Cherner for Plycraft Bentwood Swivel Chair with Cream Upholstery
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Attention Collectors! This architecturally captivating swivel chair designed by the acclaimed Norman Cherner is ideal for those searching for authentic Plycraft pieces from the early...
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Originally introduced in 1958, the iconic molded plywood armchair by Norman Cherner is found in collections worldwide. Reissued in exacting det...
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Classic mid century Pretzel arm chair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft: Great original condition, Retains original seat and back padded cushion fabric,...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Iconic Mid Century Cherner Plycraft Bent Ply Chair
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Iconic Mid Century bent plywood chair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft with original Plycraft label, dated 1964. This example is...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Cherner Armchair
Cherner Armchair
H 31.5 in W 26.5 in D 21.5 in
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Located in New York, NY
This chair has a continuous bent plywood back and seat, wood laminate arm rests, and tubular chrome frame. The wood finish shows wear, and the chrome frame shows cosmetic wear. We be...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Bentwood Side Chair By Norman Cherner For Plycraft
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Norman Cherner for Plycraft Bentwood chair with Yellow Vinyl cushion 1960s
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Previously Available Items
Mid-Century modern armchair in walnut by Norman Cherner
By Norman Cherner
Located in Courbevoie, FR
Mid-Century modern armchair in walnut by Norman Cherner. New edition in second hand. Some light scratch on seat. W 67,7cm x D 54,3cm x H 80,2cm - Seat H 45,2cm - Arms 66cm
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Professionally Restored Norman Cherner Plycraft Vintage Pretzel Walnut Armchairs
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Professionally Restored Norman Cherner Plycraft Vintage Pretzel Walnut Armchairs
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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A Pair Of Vintage Norman Cherner Plycraft Armchairs ca' 1950's
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A pair of classic, vintage 1 st edition Cherner chairs with arms. Nice patina.
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Norman Cherner Pretzel Armchair by Plycraft, Circa 1960s
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Norman Cherner Pretzel Arm Chairs for Plycraft in Custom Sunburst Finish, c.1958
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Vintage Pair Pretzel Walnut-Plywood Armchairs Norman Cherner Plycraft, Restored
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

Materials

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Mid-Century Modern 10 Pretzel Dining Chairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
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Mid-Century Modern Set of 10 Pretzel chairs/Armchairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft U.S.A. (1920–1987) A pioneer both in molded plywood and prefab housing, Norman Cherner studied...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Norman Cherner Pretzel Armchairs for Plycraft, Pair
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Pair of very Original Norman Cherner Pretzel armchairs. Chairs in nice shape, original vinyl seat shows a little wear but chairs are very solid!...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Norman Cherner Plycraft Pretzel Armchairs
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Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner "Pretzel" Armchair for Plycraft
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Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner "Pretzel" armchair for Plycraft.
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Classic Modernist Plywood Pretzel Armchair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
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Super clean and early set of 4 pretzel armchairs designed by Norman Cherner manufactured by Plycraft, beautiful graining, amazing original condition, retain original labels, hand del...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Armchairs

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Norman Cherner armchairs for sale on 1stDibs.

Norman Cherner armchairs are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Norman Cherner armchairs, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 9 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 3 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original armchairs by Norman Cherner were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider armchairs by George Nelson, Craft Associates, and Gunlocke. Prices for Norman Cherner armchairs can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $1,079 and can go as high as $15,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $2,615.

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