designer Warren Platner’s classic american modernism: more than wire furniture

Even if you don’t immediately recognize the name, you will know his iconic work.  Warren Platner (1919-2006) is best known for this wire furniture created in 1966, produced by Knoll and continuously manufactured ever since.  Having studied architecture, Platner began his career working for I.M. Pei before moving to the studio of Eero Saarinen in 1960 and then finally opening his own business in 1965.

Platner once said “a classic is something that you look at often and always accept as it is.  You can see no way of improving it.”  How true is the statement when looking at his own work.
The wire furniture he created was revolutionary in that it used the steel rods not only as decoration but for structure as well. While appearing simple and elegant, the design was notoriously difficult to produce, requiring that every rod be spaced perfectly and separately welded into position.  Some pieces require over 1000 welds!!!
And while his name is synonymous with the wire furniture, he also designed some fabulous pieces such as the desk and sofa in this feature … so perfectly simple.  Few things are more representative of modernism and the 1960s than Platner’s furniture.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Platner’s firm was behind the decor of the Georg Jensen Design Center in New York City, the remodeling of the Pan Am building’s lobby for MetLife as well as the vision behind the original Windows on the World restaurant atop the now lost North World Trade Center tower.
image credits: (first and last) Christie’s; (all others) Furniture Design 24
Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today.  I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite)