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Norman Cherner Credenzas

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
Cherner 4 Door Credenza
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American Walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner 2 Door 2 Drawer File Cabinet
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American Walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner 4 Drawer Credenza
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American Walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner 2 Door 2 Drawer Credenza
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner 6 Drawer Dresser
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American Walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner 4 Door Cabinet
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
Multiflex casegoods are lightweight, strong and made entirely from laminated, cross-ply and molded plywood. Clear or Classic finish on American Walnut veneers are complimented by the...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

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Norman Cherner credenzas for sale on 1stDibs.

Norman Cherner credenzas 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 credenzas, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original credenzas by Norman Cherner were created in the mid-century modern style in united states during the 21st century and contemporary. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider credenzas by The Cherner Chair Company , Rather Well Design, and Venfield. Prices for Norman Cherner credenzas can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $3,479 and can go as high as $4,799, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $4,199.

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