Artists & Designers

Warren Platner (1919-2006)

Born in Baltimore in 1919, Warren Platner studied architecture at Cornell University. Upon his graduation in 1941, Platner worked in the offices of legendary designers Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei. In 1967, he opened his own New Haven office, which quickly became a significant design studio where he produced furniture, lighting, and textiles, as well as residential and commercial interiors. As Modernism became more expressive during the 1960s, Platner, "...felt there was room for the kind of decorative, gentle, graceful design that appeared in a period style like Louis XV." To pursue that concept, he focused on the design possibilities of steel wire and ultimately arrived at a collection of chairs, ottomans, and tables that rest on a sculptural base of nickel-plated steel rods. Introduced by Knoll in 1966, the Platner collection has been in continuous production ever since.

Platner's architectural background enabled him to experiment in a number of design areas. Working in the office of architect Kevin Roche, Platner won acclaim for the interior design of the Ford Foundation headquarters (1967), using a muted color scheme to create warmth within the soaring steel, granite, and glass building. Also notable, was his design of the Georg Jensen Design Center (1968), a showroom for high-end Scandinavian furniture and lighting. Platner's interior design for the glamorous Windows on the World Restaurant (1976) on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in New York City captured the public's attention perhaps more than any other project. Paul Goldberger, then architecture critic of the New York Times, described the lush interior, with its subdued pastels, fabric-covered walls, and brass railings as an example of "sensuous modernism."

Platner also designed the interiors for Water Tower Place (1976), a vertical shopping mall in Chicago and, in 1986, directed the interior renovation of the Pan Am Building lobby for its new owner, MetLife. Still active in his firm, Platner Associates, he died in 2006 at the age of 86.

Warren Platner received the Rome Prize in architecture in 1955 and in 1985 was inducted into Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame.

Drawn from

Design Within Reach,, Accessed May 13, 2016.