André Sornay (1902-2000)

Born in 1902, André Sornay was a French Art Deco furniture maker and interior designer. He took over his family business of period furniture manufacturing at the age of 17. Inspired by the Bauhaus, he began developing his own collection of modernist furniture. His approach will be later developed by the Union des Artistes Modernes. The members of this movement emancipated themselves from decorative notions to focus on function and structure. This union will welcome designers and architects such as Robert Mallet-Stevens, Pierre Chareau, Eileen Gray, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), Francis Jourdain, Jean-Charles Moreux, Charlotte Perriand

Although Sornay frequently used precious woods like rosewood or mahogany, he combined tradition and modernity in a very inventive way. Along with modernist designers Eileen Gray and Pierre Legrain, he was one of the 20th-century creators to use the Oregon pine for his furniture. Sornay also incorporated utilitarian materials and further new techniques (rubber, aluminum, plywood, sand-blasting, Duco lacquer…) on his creations. He furthermore developed, all along his career, numerous patents and innovations such as the concept of “cloutage” (long lines of tiny brass nails on veneered wood panels)

André Sornay has long remained unknown as he spent his professional life working in Lyon rather than in Paris. Art professionals and collectors now recognize him as a major player in 20th-century furniture design.

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