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Serge Ivan Chermayeff

Serge Ivan Chermayeff

*  1900 Grosny
† 1996 Wellfleets, Massachusetts

Serge Chermayeff was one of the leading exponents of the International Modern style of architecture in Great Britain. Born in Azerbaijan, Serge Ivan Chermayeff emigrated with his family to Britain, probably in 1910. From 1922 to 1925 Serge Chermayeff studied art and architecture in Germany, Austria, France, and the Netherlands. Between 1924 and 1927 Serge Chermayeff was employed as artistic director at E. Williams Ltd. From 1928 until 1931 Chermayeff was head of the Modern Art Studio at the English furniture-making company Waring & Gillows. In 1931 Serge Chermayeff founded his own design practice and designed interiors for the BBC. 1933-1936 Serge Chermayeff collaborated with the architect Erich Mendelsohn on several buildings, including the "De La Warr Pavilion" (1933-1936) in Bexhill, Sussex. Built of steel, glass, and concrete, the pavilion was the first public building in Great Britain to be designed in the International Modern style. In 1937 Serge Chermayeff became a member of the MARS Group (Modern Architectural Research Society). From 1939 Serge Chermayeff worked in the US, becoming an American citizen. In 1940-1942 Serge Chermayeff was director of the design department at the Chicago School of Design. Founded in 1939 by László Moholy-Nagy, the school was renamed the Chicago Institute of Design after Moholy-Nagy died in 1946. After a brief stint as head of the art department at Brooklyn College in New York, Serge Chermayeff returned to Chicago, where he was appointed president of the Chicago Insitute of Design in 1946.