Benjamin Cherner

U.S.A. (1956)

Benjamin Cherner got an early start in the family business. As he remembers it, “in nursery school I was always building things. At 5 years old, there was a failed effort at designing and building a full-size rocket ship out of two-by-fours left over from a building site.” Cherner, an architect with degrees from Arizona State University and Columbia University, is the son of midcentury industrial designer and architect Norman Cherner, best known for his molded plywood Cherner Chair.


In 1992, Ben Cherner established his own multidisciplinary design studio, Cherner Design, working on projects ranging from multiperson seating made of flexible molded plywood to a primitive modern coastal woodland residence.


Cherner often works his father’s furniture and his own into architectural projects. His family’s home in New York’s East Village, a double-height modern box at the top of an early-19th-century townhouse, was fully renovated by Cherner and his wife, also an architect, complete with nods to the previous generation of Cherners, such as plywood cabinetry and flooring. Heirloom-quality Cherner Chairs also have their place around the table. Says Ben, “I just repaired one the other day – with teenagers it’s beyond a commercial level of abuse.”


Repeated nudges from colleagues and friends about the Cherner Chair – that is, how to get one – inspired Ben and his brother Thomas to form the Cherner Chair Company in 1999. They brought the chair and other Norman Cherner designs back into production according to their father’s original specifications. The company also produces original furniture by Ben designed to harmonize with Norman’s signature pieces, foremost among them the Cherner Table (2004).

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