Norman Cherner: FABRICATING HOUSES FROM COMPONENT PARTS [How to Build a House for $6,000]. New York: Reinhold, 1957. First edition. Quarto. Black cloth stamped in silver. Photo illustrated dust jacket. 208 pp. Fully illustrated with black and white photographs and illustrations. Light blue dust jacket uniformly sunned to spine. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. Exceptionally well-preserved: a nearly fine copy in a nearly fine dust jacket. Rare in this condition.
8.75 x 10.5 book with 208 pages profusely illustrated with black and white photographs and illustrations by the author. You wouldn't believe how desireable Cherner makes Quonset Hut living look!
FABRICATING HOUSES FROM COMPONENT PARTS is a spectacular manifesto of how to take advantage of the post-war building boom. The book subtitle (How to Build a House for $6,000) signals Cherner's agenda that still resonates to this day. You might have to add a decimal place, though.
Cherner was truly a renaissance man of the midcentury-modern movement -- his devotion to teaching, prefabrication and hands-on production probably handicapped him in the race to get into the pantheon of midcentury greats. While Charles Eames, George Nelson et al. were polishing their respective laurels, Cherner was teaching at the Teacher's College at Columbia University.
Norman Cherner is recognized as one of the most original of a generation of designers that explored post-war technological innovations in industrial design and architecture. His Cherner Chair (1958) is one of the most successful examples of mid-century molded plywood seating, and has recently been reissued from the original molds and drawings by Cherner's sons.
Norman Cherner studied and taught at the Columbia University Fine Arts Department and was an instructor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1947 to 1949. At the same time he also began his practice, embarking on a lifetime exploration of multidisciplinary design. Although best known for his furniture design, his work included almost all aspects of design: from graphics, glassware and lighting, to his pioneering work in prefabricated housing.
Having been educated in the Bauhaus tradition, he became interested in housing as industrial design. His first houses were built in 1948 for a cooperative in Ramapo, NY. These homes were examples of this total design concept and included affordable furniture designed specifically for these low-cost modular dwellings.
One of his first pre-fabricated houses in the United States was the "Pre-built." It was designed, produced and assembled in 1957 for the U.S. Department of Housing. After being exhibited in Vienna it was shipped back to Connecticut and uncrated to become his first home and studio outside of New York City.
Cherner's furniture designs include the "multi-flex" modular storage system, the "Konwiser Line" of furniture and lighting, and the molded plywood seating line for Plycraft in 1958 which became his most recognized design and is found in museums worldwide. His later work includes designs for Gunlock, Modernmode, Haworth and Directional.
Norman Cherner's books include: "Fabricating Houses from Component Parts" (1958) "How to Build a House for Less the $6,000" (1960), "Make your own Modern Furniture" (1953) and "How to Build Children's Toys and Furniture" (1954).