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Mid 20th Century Edward Wormley New York Sofa



Rare sofa model 5316 / "New York Sofa" designed in 1953 by Edward Wormley and manufactured by Dunbar Furniture circa 1953-1958. This elegant design features a birch frame which holds the sofa and its floating back, detalied with buttons and piping on its dark grey upholstery. It is a brilliant piece of Mid-Century Modern design and of great quality craftsmanship. About the designer: In the 1930s, Wormley left Marshall Field’s to work as a designer for the Dunbar Furniture Company in Berne, Indiana. He designed modern and traditional pieces for Dunbar, and quickly became the company’s design director. By 1944, he’d been placed in charge of modernising Dunbar’s furniture lines—a task he accomplished by incorporating modern innovations into traditional designs and championing the midcentury Modernist aesthetic. He stayed with the company nearly four decades, until it was sold in 1970. During his tenure with Dunbar, he designed approximately 150 pieces, many of which merged traditional and modern design for comfortable, everyday usage.


  • Creator
    Edward Wormley (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 29.53 in. (75 cm)Width: 88.98 in. (226 cm)Depth: 26.78 in. (68 cm)Seat Height: 16.15 in. (41 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU5317225061692

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Customs Duties & Taxes May Apply.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

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About the Designer

Edward Wormley

As the longtime director of design for the Dunbar furniture company, Edward Wormley was, along with such peers as George Nelson at Herman Miller Inc., and Florence Knoll of Knoll Inc., one of the leading forces in bringing modern design into American homes in the mid-20th century. Not an axiomatic modernist, Wormley deeply appreciated traditional design, and consequently his work has an understated warmth and a timeless quality that sets it apart from other furnishings of the era. Wormley was born in rural Illinois and as a teenager took correspondence courses from the New York School of Interior Design. He later attended the Art Institute of Chicago but ran out of money for tuition before he could graduate. Marshall Field hired Wormley in 1930 to design a line of reproduction 18th-century English furniture; the following year he was hired by the Indiana-based Dunbar, where he quickly distinguished himself. It was a good match. Dunbar was an unusual firm: it did not use automated production systems; its pieces were mostly hand-constructed. For his part, Wormley did not use metal as a major component of furniture; he liked craft elements such as caned seatbacks, tambour drawers, or the woven-wood cabinet fronts seen on his Model 5666 sideboard of 1956. He designed two lines for Dunbar each year — one traditional, one modern — until 1944, by which time the contemporary pieces had become the clear best sellers. Many of Wormley’s signature pieces are modern interpretations of traditional forms. His 1946 Riemerschmid Chair — an example is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art — recapitulates a late 19th-century German design. The long, slender finials of his Model 5580 dining chairs are based on those of Louis XVI chairs; his Listen-to-Me Chaise (1948) has a gentle Rococo curve; the “Precedent” line that Wormley designed for Drexel Furniture in 1947 is a simplified, pared-down take on muscular Georgian furniture. But he could invent new forms, as his Magazine table of 1953, with its bent wood pockets, and his tiered Magazine Tree (1947), both show. And Wormley kept his eye on design currents, creating a series of tables with tops that incorporate tiles and roundels by the great modern ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler. As the items on 1stDibs demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in London, United Kingdom
Vetted Seller
These experienced sellers undergo a comprehensive evaluation by our team of in-house experts.
Established in 1990
1stDibs seller since 2020
10 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 14 hours
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