André Sornay was born in 1902 in Lyon. From a young age, he showed a strong interest in art and design, which led him to study at the “École des Beaux-Arts” in Lyon. Later, he continued his studies at the “École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs” in Paris, where he was exposed to the artistic and cultural influences of the time, including the emerging modernist movement.

In 1919, after his father died, he took over the family business, marking an important milestone in his career, as he was now exposed to the traditional woodworking techniques. However, Sornay quickly developed a distinct personal style that combined traditional craftsmanship with modernist principles. He became known for his innovative use of wood, particularly veneer. The following year, he abandoned traditional style furniture and began creating contemporary, sometimes modular, pieces.

In 1932, he invented and patented an ornamental process that would become the emblem of the Sornay firm: "cloutage." This technique involves integrating small brass nails, often aligned, into the veneer or solid wood. It is not only aesthetic but also functional, as it provides stability to the furniture construction. André Sornay won a bronze medal for his personal desk at the “Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne” in 1937. During the war, he primarily used European woods such as oak, sometimes without nails, and the nails were mostly in aluminum since brass was requisitioned for armament.

From 1945, André Sornay's firm transitioned to semi-industrial production related to “cloutage” and the rationalization of forms and manufacturing mechanisms. In parallel with his furniture creation activity, Sornay designed several architectural projects, notably modernist houses in Lyon, which highlighted his convictions in functional design and architecture.

In the 1950s and 1960s, André Sornay created more industrial furniture, sometimes combinable, in which he occasionally incorporated rubber or colored wood panels. Gradually, he handed over the reins of his firm to his children, who moved towards producing furniture for communities, while he returned to the pleasures of painting. He passed away on October 30, 2000.