Vitra Panton Chair in Ice Grey by Verner Panton
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Vitra Panton Chair in Ice Grey by Verner Panton
CustomizationBecause our product is hand-made in Switzerland, additional colors, finishes and sizes are available with an added production lead-time. Please inquire for more information about the variations we offer.
- Dimensions:Height: 32.68 in (83 cm)Width: 19.69 in (50 cm)Depth: 24.02 in (61 cm)
- Style:Modern (In the Style Of)
- Materials and Techniques:Resin,Molded
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:Contemporary
- Production Type:New & Custom(Current Production)
- Estimated Production Time:15-16 weeks
- Seller Location:New York, NY
- Reference Number:Seller: 44003065231stDibs: LU3989112261541
About the Design
Appearing as if it were a three-dimensional brushstroke of paint, the S-shaped Panton chair is just one curved piece of plastic that cantilevers over itself to form a seat. Prior to its development by experimental Danish designer Verner Panton (1926–98), no chair had ever been crafted from a single piece of molded plastic.
“I want to design furniture that grows up out of the floor,” Panton said of his work. “To turn the furniture into something organic, which never has four legs.” The designer, who studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen before working for Arne Jacobsen’s architecture firm, started experimenting with the concept of single-piece plastic chairs in the late 1950s, drafting sketches of what eventually became his signature eponymous work before creating a full-scale polystyrene model. But he ran into production trouble — no manufacturer would tackle the chair’s challenging engineering problems. Plastic was still a relatively new invention at the time, having been introduced to mass markets in the postwar era when most furniture makers still preferred to work in wood.
Enter Swiss furniture company Vitra, which agreed to take on the project in 1963.
It took four years — and ten prototypes — but Vitra and Panton were ultimately successful, creating a Panton chair made from fiberglass-reinforced polyester. It debuted in Danish design magazine Mobilia in 1967 and then at the 1968 Cologne Furniture Fair. The chair embodied a seductive combination of the era’s popular Space Age and Pop art aesthetics through its undulating form, futuristic material and punchy colors, resulting in mass demand for the relatively affordable piece of furniture. While it was discontinued in 1979 due to durability issues, the chair was reintroduced years later and Vitra has continued to manufacture it, experimenting with materials ranging from polyurethane foam to polypropylene in conjunction with Panton throughout the course of his lifetime. For the chair’s 50th anniversary, Vitra produced limited-edition chrome and glow-in-the-dark models.
The chair has become a celebrity in itself: It was featured on the cover of British Vogue in 1995 — with a nude Kate Moss atop it — and in 2006, it was inducted into the Danish Culture Canon. Numerous design museums hold the chair in their collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Design Museum in London and more. As far as chairs go, particularly those designed during the 1960s and 1970s, there are few better known and more beloved than the Panton.
About the Designer
Verner Panton introduced the word “groovy” — or at least its Danish equivalent — into the Scandinavian modern design lexicon. He developed fantastical, futuristic forms and embraced bright colors and new materials such as plastic, fabric-covered polyurethane foam and steel-wire framing. And Panton’s ebullient Pop art sensibility made him an international design star of the 1960s and ’70s. This radical departure from classic Danish modernism, however, actually stemmed from his training under the greats of that design style.
Born on the largely rural Danish island of Funen, Panton studied architecture and engineering at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where the lighting designer Poul Henningsen was one of his teachers. After graduating, in 1951, Panton worked in the architectural office of Arne Jacobsen, and he became a close friend of Hans Wegner's.
Henningsen taught a scientific approach to design; Jacobsen was forever researching new materials; and Wegner, the leader in modern furniture design using traditional woodworking and joinery, encouraged experimental form. Panton opened his own design office in 1955, issuing tubular steel chairs with woven seating. His iconoclastic aesthetic was announced with his 1958 Cone chair, modified a year later as the Heart Cone chair. Made of upholstered sheet metal and with a conical base in place of legs, the design shocked visitors to a Copenhagen furniture fair.
Panton went on to successive bravura technical feats. His curving, stackable 1960 Panton chair, his most popular design, was the first chair to be made from a single piece of molded plastic. Three years later, he introduced the S model, the first legless chair crafted from a single piece of plywood, cantilevered on a round metal base. Panton would spend the latter 1960s and early ’70s developing all-encompassing room environments composed of sinuous and fluid-formed modular seating made of foam and metal wire. He also created a series of remarkable lighting designs, most notably his Fun chandeliers — introduced in 1964 and composed of scores of shimmering capiz-shell disks — and the Space Age VP Globe pendant light of 1969.
As you will see from the offerings on 1stDibs, Verner Panton’s designs are made to stand out and put an eye-catching exclamation point on even the most modern decor.
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