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Verner Panton

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Verner Panton is often thought to be one of the most influential Danish designers of the 20th century. He contributed to the Pop Art movement in the 1960s with sleek styles representing the oft-cited “Space Age” feel of the decade. Born in 1926, and initially working as an artist in Odense, Panton studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Art before graduating in 1951. He then worked under Verner Panton , a fellow Danish architect and furniture designer. He was greatly influenced by Jacobsen, assisting him with various designs, including the famous Ant Chair. Soon after, Verner Panton started his own design company and became known for his bold and boundary-pushing ideas such as a collapsible house in 1955 and the Cardboard House and the Plastic House in 1960.

The notoriety of Verner Panton

In the 1950s, Verner Panton thought about making a stackable cantilevered plastic chair that was one complete piece, which led to the invention of the Panton S Chair, one of his most iconic and mass-produced designs. Another celebrated Panton creation was the Cone Chair in 1959, which caused a minor scandal and cemented his place as a visionary, exciting designer. These Dining Chairs , padded cone-shaped metal shells placed point-down on cross-shaped metal bases, the Cone began as a design for his parents’ new restaurant. A Danish businessman spotted it at the opening and offered to put it into production for Panton. When it was photographed in a Danish design magazine two years later, Panton draped naked with shop mannequins and models on the chairs. Needless to say this attracted a lot of publicity. After this, in the late 1960s and early 70s, he started designing “total environments”, including the Astoria Hotel at Trondheim in Norway, covering the walls and floors in the same pattern. He’s also known for his work for Der Spiegel, a German magazine based in Hamburg.

The return of Verner Panton

In 1995, British Vogue featured a naked Kate Moss on a Panton Chair, pushing his designs back to centre-stage after a brief time away from the spotlight. His 1960s pieces were put back into production and he was invited to design an exhibition at Trapholdtmuseum in Kolding, Denmark. The exhibition opened on 17 September 1998, but Verner Panton had died in Copenhagen 12 days earlier.