The Cherner Stool: A Tall Drink of Mid-Century Modern
It’s always exciting to find a kind of missing link in the lineage of some millennial designs. And here I thought that the curvaceous, sinuous, and leggy look of pieces like HGW and the Tolima Chair were born in a vacuum. Not so, for they certainly owe a debt to the Mid-Century Modernism of Norman Cherner. Last May, Amanda took a look at the classic Cherner Chair—renowned for both its resemblance to the Eames Chair and its appearance in Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Artist at Work,” which in 1961 appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Not to take anything away from this piece’s notoriety, but I rather prefer the decidedly futuristic Cherner Stool.
Cherner Stool. Designed by Norman Cherner.
A Molded Plywood Stool with Long Legs and Lean Lines
The Cherner Stool does have much in common with its brother chair, though they part ways with regard to the big, looping arms of the famed chair that appeared in the Rockwell painting. The stool eschews such drama in favor of a lithe, sculpted look from toe to tip. Cherner achieved the seamless transitions—visible both along the length of the leg and throughout the surface of the seat—by introducing subtle changes in thickness: “The seat is made of laminated plywood of graduated thickness, from 15 plys to 5 plys at the perimeter of the shell.”
The words provide the merest hint of Cherner’s mastery of the medium, which was such that it drew not only the watchful eyes of the Eames, but those of their lawyers as well, who sued manufacturer Plycraft over the purported ownership of the design. That company stopped issuing the chair way back when in the70s. Fast forward to 1999 when—at the behest of many international architects and designers—Cherner sons and heirs Thomas and Benjamin founded the Cherner Chair Company. Dedicated to the spirit of their father’s work, the company “utilizes his original drawings and specifications… the reissued designs are manufactured with the same attention to detail found in the original hand made classics..”
Options for the long, lovely, and forward-thinking Cherner Stool include counter or bar heights; a wood or metal base; classic/natural walnut, natural beech, or natural red gum; and lacquers in stella orange, white, or ebony.