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Norman Cherner Seating

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
Vintage Pair Pretzel Walnut-Plywood Armchairs Norman Cherner Plycraft, Restored
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Philadelphia, PA
U.S.A. (1920–1987) 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...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut, Plywood

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 detail from the original drawings and mold...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner Pretzel Armchair for Plycraft Walnut Upholstery 1960s MCM Classic
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Iconic Pretzel armchair designed by Norman Cherner and made by Plycraft, still retaining original label. Laminated walnut construction with older recovered blue upholstery. Surprisin...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

Norman 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 detail from the original drawings and mold...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner for Plycraft Set of 6 walnut Chairs
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Set of 6 Norman Cherner plycraft walnut dining room chairs. Beautiful rich walnut perfectly patinaed with great color! Nice sturdy Set with no damage to note.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner Dining Chairs, Set of Eight
By Norman Cherner
Located in Atlanta, GA
Set of eight sculptural dining chairs, designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft, American, circa 1950s. They have all been refinished and reupholstered in black vinyl. They measure: 3...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Upholstery, Wood

Norman Cherner Bar Stools
By Norman Cherner
Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Stylish Norman Cherner bar chairs. These hand crafted chairs are individually signed and numbered by the makers from the world renowned company. American Natural Walnut veneer up...
Category

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

Materials

Wood, Walnut, Faux Leather

Cherner Bar Stool with Metal Base
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood stools by Norman Cherner have been seen in some high places. Available in counter or bar height with a wood or metal base. The seat is made of laminated plywo...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Vintage Sculptural "Pretzel" Dining Chairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Burbank, CA
Stunning vintage sculptural "Pretzel" dining chairs designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft in the United States, circa 1960s. This incredible design utilizes a molded plywood frame ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut

Vintage Norman Cherner Swiveling Bar Stools for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A pair of rare swiveling sculptural molded dark walnut bar stools with black leatherette upholstery on the seat back and bottom. A sculptural look with black metal foot rests and det...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

Norman Cherner Pretzel Dining Side Arm Chair Made by Plycraft 1960's
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Wayne, NJ
Norman Cherner pretzel dining chairs, made by Plycraft in the 1960's.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Wood

Norman Cherner Pair of Plycraft Pretzel Chairs
By Norman Cherner
Located in Phoenix, AZ
Pair of Norman Cherner for Plycraft pretzel arm chairs circa early 1960's. Newly and impeccably refinished. Price listed is for the pair.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut

1950s Brown Wooden Walnut Plywood Chair by Norman Cherner
By George Nelson, Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Frankfurt, Hessen, DE
Plywood side chair, walnut by Norman Cherner, USA, 1950. This sculptural side chair comes in plywood on wooden legs and very good original condition. Manufactured by Plycraft in 1...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut, Plywood

Cherner Under Counter Stool, Counter Height
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The latest design from Benjamin Cherner. The under counter stool features a molded plywood seat with laminated wood base and a bright chrome footrest. Available in bar and counter he...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Mid-Century Modern 10 Pretzel Dining Chairs by Norman Cherner for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Stamford, CT
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...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Plywood

American Mid-Century Modern Pair of Barstools by Norman Cherner 2 Sets Available
By Norman Cherner
Located in San Diego, CA
Great design on these set of 2 Norman Cherner Barstools light wear 2 pairs available buyer has the choice to buy 2 or 4.
Category

Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Chrome

Lovely Pair of Norman Cherner Plycraft Pretzel Chairs, Mid-Century Modern
By Norman Cherner
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Lovely pair of labelled Norman Cherner Plycraft pretzel armchairs. This pair has a pickled white finish and bone colored faux leather in nice vintage condition.
Category

1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Faux Leather, Wood

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.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Wood, Birch, Bentwood

Cherner Lounge Side Chair
By The Cherner Chair Company, Norman Cherner
Located in Berkeley, CA
The lounge chair and ottoman designed by Benjamin Cherner is the latest addition to the Cherner seating collection. A molded plywood shell, solid bentwood arm and laminated wood base...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Set of Norman Cherner Pretzel Dining Chairs, Made by Plycraft, USA, 1960s
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in London, GB
A set of four original Norman Cherner pretzel dining chairs, made by Plycraft, USA, in the 1960s. Bentwood frames. Priced for the set. In very good original vintage condition. Ships ...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Wood

Norman Cherner "Pretzel" Chair for Plycraft
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Burbank, CA
Amazing vintage "Pretzel" chair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft in the United States, circa 1960s. This incredible design utilizes a molded plywood frame that provides a slee...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner Plycraft 1965 Walnut Upholstery Set, Four '4' chairs MCM Classic
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Iconic Pretzel side chairs (set of four) designed by Norman Cherner and made by Plycraft, 2 are still retaining original labels. Laminated walnut construction with older recovered bl...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

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, Extremely comfortable, Sculptura...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Naugahyde, Plywood

Plycraft Chairs by Norman Cherner
By Norman Cherner
Located in Van Nuys, CA
This is a set of 4 colorful chairs designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft. Each chair is painted in its own unique color: red, green, blue, and yellow. They all have white cushions ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Wood

Iconic Mid Century Cherner Plycraft Bent Ply Chair
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in New York, NY
Iconic Mid Century bent plywood chair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft with original Plycraft label, dated 1964. This example is in very good, original condition, showing only...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Upholstery, Plywood

Cherner Lounge Armchair
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The lounge chair and ottoman designed by Benjamin Cherner is the latest addition to the Cherner seating collection. A molded plywood shell, solid bentwood arm and laminated wood base...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Under Counter Stool, Bar Height
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The latest design from Benjamin Cherner. The under counter stool features a molded plywood seat with laminated wood base and a bright chrome footrest. Available in bar and counter he...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Set of 4 Cherner Chairs by Bernardo / Plycraft
By Norman Cherner
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Set of 4 dining chairs designed by Norman Cherner for Bernardo (Plycraft). Molded walnut plywood shell with steel rod base. Original labels are missing on some but are signed Bernard...
Category

1950s Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Norman Cherner Mid Century Chair
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Countryside, IL
Norman Cherner mid century chair The chair measures: 17 wide x 20.5 deep x 32 high, with a seat height and chair clearance of 18 inches All pieces of furniture can be had in ...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Wood

Cherner Task Chair with Arms
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood task chair by Norman Cherner is now available to a new generation of furniture collectors. A strong, lightweight and graceful addition to the home or office. ...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Bar Stool with Wood Base
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood stools by Norman Cherner have been seen in some high places. Available in counter or bar height with a wood or metal base. The seat is made of laminated plywo...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Norman Cherner Plycraft Chair Upholstered in Cowhide and Painted
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in Miami, FL
Norman Cherner Plycraft chair Upholstered in Cowhide and painted Offered for sale is a painted bentwood and laminated wood chair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft Furniture ...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Cowhide, Wood

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 Seating

Materials

Rosewood

Cherner Ottoman
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The ottoman is the latest addition to the Cherner seating collection. This new design combines a molded plywood shell and laminated wood base which are combined to produce a dynamica...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Armchair with Metal Base
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
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 graduated thickness, from 15 plys to 5 plys a...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Side Chair with Metal Base
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
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 graduated thickness, from 15 plys to 5 plys a...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Vintage Norman Cherner Plycraft Wood Leather Chairs
By Norman Cherner
Located in Pasadena, TX
Pair of vintage Norman Cherner plycraft bent wood leather chairs Norman Cherner studied and taught at the Columbia University Fine Arts Department and was an instructor at the M...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Oak

Cherner Task Chair
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood task chair by Norman Cherner is now available to a new generation of furniture collectors. A strong, lightweight and graceful addition to the home or office. ...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Cherner Task Chair
By Norman Cherner, The Cherner Chair Company
Located in Berkeley, CA
The 1958 molded plywood task chair by Norman Cherner is now available to a new generation of furniture collectors. A strong, lightweight and graceful addition to the home or office. ...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Mid-Century Modern Side Chair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft, circa 1950s
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in DELRAY BEACH, FL
Early example of Norman Cherner’s “pretzel” chair designed for Plycraft. In beautiful original condition and original walnut finish. Delicately made with plys of strong wood demonstr...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut, Plywood

Bernardo Label Pretzel Chair by Norman Cherner for Plycraft, circa 1950s
By Norman Cherner, Plycraft
Located in DELRAY BEACH, FL
Early example of Norman Cherner’s “pretzel” chair designed for Plycraft. In beautiful original condition and original walnut finish. Delicately made with plys of strong wood demonstr...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Walnut, Plywood

Norman Cherner, Sofa
By Norman Cherner
Located in San Francisco, CA
Norman Cherner, sofa. A rare floating back sofa with enameled steel legs by Norman Cherner. Newly restored in a beige Moore & Giles leather with tufting and covered buttons. Literat...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Norman Cherner Seating

Materials

Steel

Norman Cherner seating for sale on 1stDibs

Norman Cherner seating is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Norman Cherner seating collection, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In stock are 20 vintage editions of these items, while there are 14 modern editions to choose from as well. Many of Norman Cherner's original seating was created in the mid-century modern style in North America during the 20th century. Many customers also consider seating by Kipp Stewart, Heywood-Wakefield Co., and Design Institute America.. The prices for Norman Cherner seating can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $595 and tops out at $12,127, while pieces like these can sell for $1,950 on average.

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