Xerjoff Magazine

Verner Panton, the “Bad Boy” of Scandinavian Design

Writer

A monograph published by Phaidon celebrates Verner Panton who with his work has revolutionized the proverbial essentiality of Scandinavian design by creating objects considered to be true icons of design.

“Whether his name is familiar or not, Panton’s variously modular, biomorphic, brightly colored furniture; his op art fabrics; and his concept of interiors as visually continuous environments– are embedded in the collective postwar unconscious.” With these simple but eloquent words the New York Times described the importance of the work of Verner Panton, the “bad boy” of Danish post-war design.

Born in Denmark, Panton studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and immediately after graduating he started to work with the famous designer Arne Jacobsen. With his work Panton brought a substantial revolution within the Scandinavian design tradition in terms of materials, shapes and style. In fact, the classic handcrafted teak wood has replaced by plastic, fiberglass, synthetic fabrics, used to create colourful objects and environments undoubtedly closer to pop culture than to the functionalist minimalism typical of Scandinavian design. The culmination of Panton’s success was in 1967, when he designed the famous Panton Chair, the first product independently produced by Vitra, and still in the brands catalogue nowadays. This and many others among Panton’s creations, considered today as real design icons, are featured in the rich and comprehensive monograph “Verner Panton” published by Phaidon. The book, edited by Ida Engholm and Anders Michelsen, documents Panton’s work through 359 illustrations among which his objects, his environments, his patterns alongside personal photographs and sketches related to projects never concluded.

Above: The Panton’s Chair, the world’s first moulded plastic chair. Verner panton, 1967.