American architect and interior designer Warren Platner was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1919. Platner attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1941. Shortly after, he began working with legendary architects Raymond Loewy and I.M. Pei from 1945 to 1950, and with Eero Saarinen from 1960 to 1965. During this time he was part of the design process of many historically important projects including the Dulles International Airport, in Washington, D.C., the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center, and several dormitories for Yale University. Platner joined Kevin Roche’s firm as the head of interior design, becoming more involved with interior and industrial design, as he believed that the essence and character of a building’s design should come from within.
In 1967, having gained a wealth of expertise and knowledge from working for architect-design luminaries, Platner decided to open his own firm, Platner Associates. Not limiting itself to architecture, it also experimented in furniture design, lighting, textiles, and interiors. From the late 1960s onwards, he exhibited widely and worked on a variety of interior design and architecture projects, including the interior design of the Ford Foundation headquarters (1967) in New York, the Georg Jensen Design Center (1968) also in New York, the interior to the American Restaurant in Kansas (1974), the interiors for Water Tower Place (1976) in Chicago, and the Windows on the World Restaurant (1976) atop the World Trade Center in New York.
In the 1960s, as the modernist movement became more expressive, Platner focused on a quieter aesthetic, wishing to create more graceful structures. In 1966 Platner, in collaboration with Knoll , unveiled the Platner Collection—a series of sleek modern chairs, ottomans and tables that rest on an intricately sculpted base of cylindrical steel rods replicating a moiré pattern. Requiring over 1,000 welds for one piece alone, the complex design is a close marriage of architecture and industrial design. Though Platner designed other pieces, the Platner Collection was his most renowned collection that ultimately made a name for himself in furniture design.
Planter received the Rome Prize in 1955 for his architecture designs and was inducted into Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1985.
Platner passed away in 2006 at the age of 86.
* Images courtesy of Knoll