VERNER PANTON / 1926-1988
Verner Panton is considered one of Denmark’s most influential 20th-century furniture and interior designers. During his career, he created innovative and futuristic designs in a variety of materials, especially plastics, and in vibrant colors. His style was very “1960s” but regained popularity at the end of the 20th century; as of 2004, Panton’s most well-known furniture models are still in production (at Vitra, among others).
Panton was trained as an architectural engineer in Odense; next, he studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) in Copenhagen, graduating in 1951. During the first two years of his career, 1950-1952, he worked at the architectural practice of Arne Jacobsen, another Danish architect and furniture designer. Panton turned out to be an “enfant terrible” and he started his own design and architectural office. He became well known for his innovative architectural proposals, including a collapsible house (1955), the Cardboard House and the Plastic House (1960). Near the end of the 1950s, his chair designs became more and more unconventional, with no legs or discernible back. In 1960 Panton was the designer of the very first single-form injection-moulded plastic chair. The Stacking chair or S chair, which would become his most famous and mass-produced design.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Verner Panton experimented with designing entire environments: radical and psychedelic interiors that were an ensemble of his curved furniture, wall upholstering, textiles and lighting. He is best known for the design of a German boats interior, now a famous museum. He is also known for a hotel in Europe that utilized circular patterns and cylindrical furniture.
Additionally, Panton is well-known for his innovative design work for Der Spiegel, a well-known German publication in Hamburg.