Verner Panton was one of the most influential figures in the development of design during the 1960s and 1970s.
Along with his experimental approach to forms and colours, he was captivated by the potential of plastic, a novel material at the time. His aim was to create a comfortable chair made in one piece that could be used anywhere. After searching for a manufacturer for several years, Panton came into contact with Vitra in 1963. Together they developed the Panton Chair, which was first presented in 1967.
Serial production of the Panton Chair commenced in 1967. It was hailed as a sensation and received numerous prizes. One of the earliest models is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Today the Panton Chair is regarded as a classic of modern furniture design. The original version of the chair in rigid polyurethane foam with a glossy lacquer finish is marketed under the name Panton Chair Classic.
Verner Panton, born in Gamtofte, Denmark, studied at Odense Technical College before enrolling at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen as an architecture student. He worked from 1950-1952 in the architectural firm of Arne Jacobsen and founded an independent studio for architecture and design in 1955. He first attracted wider attention with the geometric forms of his furniture designs for the firm Plus-linje. In the following years Panton created numerous designs for seating furniture and lighting.
Verner Panton's passion for bright colours and geometric patterns manifested itself in an extensive range of textile designs. By fusing the elements of a room – floor, walls, ceiling, furnishings, lighting, textiles and wall panels made of enamel or plastic – into a unified gesamtkunstwerk, Panton's interior installations have attained legendary status. The most famous examples are the 'Visiona' ship installations for the Cologne Furniture Fair (1968 and 1970), the Spiegel publishing headquarters in Hamburg (1969) and the Varna restaurant in Aarhus (1970).
Panton's collaboration with Vitra began in the early 1960s, when they jointly developed what became his best-known design, the Panton Chair, which was introduced in 1967. This was also the first independently developed product by Vitra. Verner Panton died in 1998 in Copenhagen. Vitra's re-edition of designs by Panton, as well as the retrospective of his work mounted by the Vitra Design Museum in 2000, bear witness to the special relationship between Vitra and Verner Panton.