The plywood Cherner Armchair was first designed by Norman Cherner in 1958. It has since become a mid-century icon. I fell in love with this chair several years back and was able to add two early Cherner chairs manufactured by the original fabricating company, Plycraft. The chair was out of production for years until in 1999 the sonandrsquo;s of Norman Cherner, Benjamin and Thomas Cherner, decided to continue their fatherandrsquo;s legacy and start the Cherner Chair Company. The Cherner Chair Company has reintroduced and produces the original Norman Cherner chair designs as well as introducing designs by Benjamin Cherner.
The Cherner Story is long and complicated because when Plycraft originally started producing the armchairs in 1958, the chair was called the andldquo;Rockwellandrdquo;, and Plycraft wrongfully attributed the design. Paul Goldman, the founder of Plycraft, deliberately obscured the authorship of the design. Several designers were originally given credit for the design including George Mulhauser, Bernado or Bernardo(a fictional designer) and even to Paul Goldman himself. Since then the design has been rightfully given back to the original designer, Norman Cherner, and Cherner was granted backdated compensation for his design.
The chair is actually a very similar version to the 1952 George Nelsonandrsquo;s Pretzel Chair, which was originally designed for Herman Miller. Herman Miller outsourced the production of the Chair to Plycraft, however it was soon deemed the chair too difficult and fragile to produce. Plycraft saw potential in the bentwood design and called for entries for a redesign of the chair. Norman Cherner submitted designs for the chair and eventually Plycraft put the chair in production, but without giving Cherner credit for the design.
Norman Cherner studied and taught at Columbia University and was also an instructor at the Museum of Modern Art in NY. Norman Cherner is best known for his chair designs, but he was also very influential in pre-fabricated housing and his range of design also extends to glassware, lighting and graphic design. Norman Cherner is also the author of several design books. Son, Benjamin Cherner is a practicing architect as well as furniture designer. He studied architecture at Arizona State University and Columbia University.