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Thursday, September 8, 2011

André Sornay

André Sornay
André Sornay (1902-2000) studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France, before taking over the family business at age 17 when his father died. Under his father, the factory had produced copies of period furniture, but young Sornay took the company in a completely new direction to create modern designer pieces.

He was influenced by the Bauhaus and the Stijl movements, both of which were characterized by the belief in a synthesis of art and architecture, and counted among his peers celebrated architects and designers such as Le Corbusier, Pierre Chareau, Francis Jourdain, Jean Prouvé, Eileen Gray, and Charlotte Perriand, all members of the French Union of Modern Artists (U.A. M.), a group formed in the late 1920s in reaction to the prevailing conservative design aesthetic.

Sornay's designs are geometric, harmonious and practical. His materials include precious woods, Permatex, rubber, lacquer and metal. He registered his first patent in 1932 for a new assembly technique called cloutage, which involved attaching veneer to a piece with nails, which became an element of decoration and, eventually, one of his trademarks.

André Sornay primarily exhibited his work at art fairs in Lyon, although he did take part in two Parisian exhibitions. In 1925, at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Industriels et Modernes his work was considered too avant garde. Twelve years later, however, he was awarded the bronze medal for his personal study at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne.

From and
Early Permatex chest, 1930s
Bar/cabinet, 1950s
Cabinet, 1950s
Armchair, 1950s
Lounge chairs, 1950s
Table lamps, 1950s
Lounge chairs, 1950s
Panel screen, 1950s
Helicoidal lamp, 1950s
Armchairs, 1950s
Dining chairs, 1950s
Palisander desk and chair, 1960s


  1. Thanks for sharing this designer with us. I don't think I have ever heard of him before.

  2. The Palisander desk and chair are a dream.

  3. @DearHelenHartman: I know...I love that floating top! What amazes me most is that he was confident enough to take over his father's business at age 17 and take it in a new direction. Going from period reproductions to some of the wild stuff he did early in his career was pretty daring for someone that young.

  4. couldnt decide which piece won me over ...all of them specially the desk is to die for

  5. @Sudha: The desk is beautiful, and I love the white lounge chairs too!

  6. Thanks for this, you made a Sornay fan out of me.