Verner Panton, described by many as the outsider in Danish furniture design, and this is largely due to his completely different choice of materials and techniques. He would, however, also have to move abroad before he really made his name. Panton more or less designed at the same time as other great Danish designers like Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner. Panton broke through barely a decade later, as it was primarily in the 1960s and '70s, that his furniture and lighting was created. There was also a lot going on in these decades when the Flower Power era broke out and brought a certain change of style. Verner Panton lived 1926-98.
Verner Panton's use of colour
It is particularly the widespread use of distinct colours which characterize Verner Panton. He immediately catches the eye with his designs, whether it is his lamps, chairs, table, mugs, newspaper rack or other design. Some examples are:
- The series Flowerpot lamps
- The Globe lamp
- The Panthella lamp
- Heart Cone Chair
- The Panton Chair
Industrial production and different materials
Apart from the colours, it is mainly the materials and production technique which differentiate Verner Panton from other designers in the so called Danish Modern design wave. The other prominent designers in modern Danish furniture design, hailed the art of carpentry and an exquisite expensive production in classic materials like wood and leather, among other things, know from several famous design chairs.
Instead, Verner Panton embraced the new opportunities of industrialization for mass production and materials like plastic and fibreglass Among other things, he is behind the first chair in the world, which is produced in a single continuous piece, namely the Panton chair from 1960, which is made of fibreglass and lacquered in different colours depending on the model. This famous chair became the symbol of innovation in Danish furniture design.
Danish designer abroad
Verner Panton has, as an outsider in Danish furniture design, largely been working abroad. Following the opening of a design studio in Copenhagen in 1955, he instead had to settle in Switzerland in 1963. Likewise, most of his work has been abroad – from whole task assignments in Hamburg (Der Spiegels house) and Trondheim (Hotel Astoria), to the production of his furniture. For instance, his Panton chair was produced by Vitra, who is also behind the Eames chairs.
However, Panton has also designed some lamps for the classic Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen.
Fluctuating prices on Verner Panton
At first, he only broke entirely through abroad, but is today also very popular in Denmark. In recent years, Verner Panton's furniture, lighting and other designs has become highly sought after by collectors, both nationally and internationally. In recent times, the creations has often skipped all assessments at auctions. Some of his furniture or lamps has been produced in very large numbers, and therefore the prices are relatively low, while others were produced in limited numbers and the prices reflects this.
Award winning designer and architect
Verner Panton has won several awards for his works, both in Denmark and internationally. He won the PH Prize in 1967, while he in 1963 and 1968 won the American International Design Award.
Living Tower – Panton's experiment with architecture and furniture
Verner Panton's perception of contemporary interior design has contributed to some of the most visually and aesthetically stimulating architecture, modern design has seen. He was the first designer to experiment with the great potential of plastic as a basic material. This led to the exciting projects such as The collapsible House in 1955 and The Cardboard House in 1960. His use of plastic as well as his experimentation with geometric shapes and bright colours marked a clear change from conventional, traditional Scandinavian design to a contemporary design culture.
The Living Tower from 1969 is another exciting experiment from Panton. Here he unites the experimental style of furniture and architecture when he built the tower, which consists of furniture in several floors. Panton had previously worked for Arne Jacobsen, and he now takes the architectural functionalism a step further, adding the artistic touch with bright colours and more experimental approach.