André Sornay was born in Lyon in 1920, at his father's death, André Sornay was 17 years old and left his studies at the Beaux-Arts where he studied decoration and architecture, to take over the family business furniture. Immediately, he created his own models while keeping the know-how of local craftsmen employed by his father. Ignoring then the world of cabinet making, he uses his knowledge of draftsman and his taste for architecture. He completely abandons the ornament and the curve to promote the line and balance of volumes The young clientele of Lyon in demand of modernity is a chance for him.
In 1922, he exhibited for the first time at the Lyon Fair. Since then, it simplifies the lines and volumes, without abandoning the traditional heritage of cabinet making. It is very noticed, praised by some and criticized by others.
In 1925, he opened his own studio in Lyon and exhibited in Paris at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts. He is a key player in this new historical period called Art Deco. He develops custom and multifunctional furniture, in a permanent research of technical solutions.
Since 1928, André Sornay introduced the color and used Duco lacquer. It is a cellulosic paint easily applicable to the gun and used in the automotive industry. In 1932, he invented the "cloutage", a technical process of veneer that generates an aesthetic effect. In 1934, he introduced Oregon pine in his fabrications (as Legrain and Eileen Gray).
The Second World War marks a turning point in its production. The scarcity of materials and the decline of quality push him to seek new solutions. It improves the standardization of production and develops the principle of fully removable furniture, a rapid assembly system of furniture of which he lays out different patents between 1953 and 1955, the "Tigette Sornay", previous history of the furniture in kit. Delivered in kit, the assembly is carried out by his employees at the customer. In 1953, he exposes to the Galerie Mai in Paris this Tigette furniture, which will be distributed by Mennecy Decoration until 1960.
Until the mid-60s he worked for a private clientele. During this period he made many furniture dual functions, placed on a base consisting of two cheeks, as Perriand and Prouvé.
André Sornay retired in 1967 and his children, Annick and Jean-Claude Sornay continue the activity by making furniture for the communities (libraries, hotels, clinics, high schools, workers' homes, social centers etc ... This furniture is often in solid beech and synthetic lacquers.
Wood remains André Sornay's favorite material, but he explores new techniques. He constantly plays with the new possibilities offered by materials and industrial techniques.
For him, aterial is the priority, wood is worked with care. The shape is considered from an architectural point of view, by ordinances of the traces. In an esthetic of constructor, it highlights the structure of the piece of furniture, its volumes, its geometric forms. To this, combined pictorial sensitivity that is reflected in the essence of the carefully chosen woods, whose veining also builds the décor. The color / material contrast is omnipresent and the architectural concern takes precedence over that of the decor.
André Sornay can be compared to Alvar Alto for his plywood use, to Jean Prouvé for his approach as a builder, to Pierre Chareau and Jourdain for the creation of combinable furniture. The technique supplants the aestheticism, it subordinates it, the useful detail composes the decor