Furniture Designer Norman Diekman Dies at 82
Norman Diekman, a furniture designer and interior architect, died in late January at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s Disease. Diekman studied architecture at Pratt Institute, and later worked for Philip Johnson, who became a mentor, introducing him to contemporary art dealers and fostering Diekman’s interest in collecting art and books on art and architecture. His extensive and carefully curated library even garnered attention from rare book experts. But his eye for design continuously propelled his career forward.
After working for Lee Harris Pomeroy and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Diekman opened his own design office in 1971. He worked from 1977 to 1982 as a consultant to Ward Bennett, producing technical drawings and full-scale mockups for Bennett designs like the University Chair. Diekman then started designing furniture like the Canto executive desk collection for Steelcase. In the 2000s, the Coalesse division of Steelcase produced the Diekman Tables collection, the Soft Leaf Tables collection, which was often used in educational and healthcare projects, and the Trees collection of wood side tables. Diekman’s Cubist collection of occasional and conference tables for Tuohy Furniture won a Best of NeoCon Silver award in 2007. And in 2012, Cumberland Furniture launched the Christina tables, playful interpretations of oval forms.
Diekman taught and lectured at several colleges and universities, and co-authored two textbooks on drawing and sketching interiors with John F. Pile. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Christina Diekman, his sister Mary Haselkorn, and five nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, to honor Diekman’s passion for drawing, donations may be sent to the The Menil Collection for Drawing Center Acquisitions, 1533 Sul Ross Street, Houston, TX 77006.
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