The architect Serge Chermayeff was a early exponent of the International Modern style in Great Britain. Born in Azerbaijan, Serge Ivan Chermayeff, emigrated with his family to Great Britain, probably in 1910. Between about 1922 and 1925, he studied art and architecture in Germany, Austria, France, and the Netherlands.
From 1924 to 1927 Serge Chermayeff was head designer at E. Williams Ltd.; from 1928 until 1931 he headed the Modern Art Studio at the English furniture-making firm of Waring & Gillows, where the French designer Paul Follot also worked. From 1931 until 1933 Serge Chermayeff had his own practice, designing interiors for the BBC, etc.
In the years that followed Chermayeff collaborated with the architect Erich Mendelsohn: their most important joint project was the "De La Warr Pavilion" in Bexhill, Sussex (1933-36). Other buildings are the "Nimmo House" in Chalfont-St-Giles (1934-35) and "Levy House" in London (1935-36).
In 1937 Serge Chermayeff became a member of the MARS Group (Modern Architectural Research Society). In 1939 Serge Chermayeff went to the US, where in 1940 he became head of the design department at the Chicago School of Design founded by László Moholy-Nagy. Between 1942 and 1946 Serge Chermayeff was head of the art department at Brooklyn College in New York.
After Moholy-Nagy's death in 1946, Serge Chermayeff returned to Chicago, where he became director of the restructured Chicago School of Design, now called the Chicago Institute of Design.