Article New York Times, 1969
He Prefers to Design Houses Inside Out...
He Prefers to Design Houses Inside Out
by RITA REIF
"Houses should be designed inside out-first the interiors and then the walls," said Verner Panton, the Danish architect-designer, during his first visit to New York earlier this month.
"And those furnishings used in the interiors, as weil as the walls and ceiling of the structure around them, should all be movable, making hornes flexible enough so that they can be enlarged, made sm aller or generally rearranged as our needs change."
Mr.Panton`s theories, which he shares with several other European and American architect-designers, will receive their first commercial test here in September. At that time, the furniture and carpeting system that he designed to provide flexible interior arrangements will be offered here by Beylerian Ltd.
The seven-piece collection, shown last year by Farbenfabriken Bayer AG in Cologne, West Germany, is of molded rigid polyurethane. All are on a 28 inchsquare base. One piece can be used as an ottoman or table, the others are chairs, with or without arms and with or without high or low backs.
The furniture is upholstered in a foam-backed, stretch-knit fabric measuring less than a half-inch thick. This same fabric, with a ridged backing, will also be offered as carpeting. Tbe knits come in dark blue, gold, orange, turquoise and brown.
George Beylerian, the importer, believes that prices will be moderate. Shipping costs are still to be determined, and Mr. Beylerian may decide to manufacture the collection here under a license arrangement with the West German producers.
Keeping His Secrets
Because the furnishings are designed for mass production and could be easily imitated. Mr.Panton is withholding specifies until their introduction later this year.
"I would rather not discuss it further," said the 43year-old, bearded Dane who now makes bis horne in Basel, Switzerland. Mildmannered, introspective and quizzical, Mr.Panton the man belies Mr.Panton the designer of such a startling designs as his Z-shaped chair that knifes the air with a razor-edged silhouette and his environments that look like self-contained interiors of double-decker railroad cars.
What does fit the image Mr.Panton has had created for him in the European press is the fastidious approach he takes in all his work. Recently he left bis mark on the floors, walls and ceilings of the offices of Der Spiegel, the publisbing house, in Hamburg, West Germany. He used bullseye - shaped lighting fixtures in shades of red, blue and purple to cover the ceiling and walls of the entrance court and lobby.
"They really look like flower pots," he said with just the suggestion of a chuckle.
"The spaces were very awkward to redesign. I had to use several devices to cut back the noise that would be produced by people speaking in conversational tones when using these areas."
The flower pot-like ceiling and wall fixtures are acoustical, having perforated backs that catch sound waves. And so are the spectacular pyramid and stalactite formations Mr.Panton used to cover ceilings. These fabric-covered projections reduce the decibel rate to aminimum. They also focus the attention on the upper areas of rooms where ~ likes to hang his ~ ballsize chandeliers made of silver dollar-size seashells linked on chains. The chandeliers are used in double and tri pie tiers in several areas of the building.
Although bis floors tend to be more subdued Mr.Panton does employ his vivid colour palette in carpeting. One wall surface in a reception room is covered with abstract-patterned enameled wall' plates in purple and white. Typical are the round doorknobs and round plates in revolving doors that repeat the round covers on the bullseye ceiling fixtures.
Livening Up Mirrors
The Panton touch in breaking up interior surfaces that most people think of as smooth is shown in a new line of mirrors Mr. Beylerian is importing. On view at Scarabaeus, 223 East 60th Street, the mirrors are threedimensional assemblages of squares and pyramids in both dear and smoked treatments. Clear ones are $310.
"A mirror is absolutely nothing," Mr.Panton declared. "Who wants just look at the same unchanging thing in a flat mirror? You must see what happens when you see people in trus mirror. Suddenly one aspect comes in focus and you see it for the first time. And candlelight dances in a way you never saw before."