architect - designer
Verner Panton trained at the Royal Danish
Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, and initially
worked in Arne Jacobsen's architectural practice.
He established his own design office in 1955
and is credited with with the design of hte
very first single-form injection-moulded plastic
chair - the Stacking chair designed in 1960.
The "S" chair was the first, one-piece,
mass produced, plastic chair. Verner Panton
designed a similar, molded, laminated wood
chair with an unbroken S-curve in 1960.
The zigzag form inspired several of Panton's
After years of searching for a suitable manufacturer
for the stacking "S" chair, Vitra,
which was manufacturing under license for
Herman Miller, developed a prototype made
from fiberglass-reinforced polyester, but
a desire to make the chair stackable delayed
production because the thickness of the material
had to be reduced without sacrificing stability.
In 1968, an "S" chair of high resilience
polyurethane foam was made jointly by Vitra
and Bayer Leverkusen and included in the Herman
1970, Vitra replaced the costly production
technology with thermoset injection molding
that used a dyed granulate Luran-s made by
BASF. The edge profiles had to be strengthened
by reinforcing ribs under the seat. The material
could not stand up to dynamic stress, and
Vitra discontinued production in 1979.
In 1983, Horn GmbH and Company Kg began making
the chair using the high resilience polyeurthane
foam technique, and Vitra again took over
production in 1990.
Arne Jacobsen, for whom he worked before establishing
his own practice in Switzerland, Verner Panton
was one of a few Scandinavian designers that
broke with the tradition of producing hand-crafted,
wood furniture. Panton made a conscious effort
to remove himself from
the preconceived notions of how a chair should
When conceptualizing a new design, Panton
concerned himself with the potential of new
materials and how they could be made into
He was fascinated by the possibilities made
available by new plastics that did not limit
the designer and allowed for inexpensive products. Panton
Designed the "Cone" chair in 1958,
the "S" stacking chair in 1960,
"Pantonova" seating in 1966, and
the "Visiona" exhibits for Basche
in 1968 and 1970.
He created interior environments with furniture
forms and luminous color.