Verner Panton – Official
Series production: 1967-1979 and 1983 to present day
Without a doubt the Panton Chair is Verner Panton's best known and perhaps most significant design. Its form, which is as unusual as it is striking, and the innovations in production technology which are related to this piece of furniture have made it an icon of chair design in the twentieth century.
Panton seems to have been experimenting with the idea of a cantilever chair made out of a single section of material as early as 1956, on the occasion of a furniture competition by the firm of WK-Möbel. There are sketches from 1958/59 which already clearly prefigure the Panton Chair. A short time later Panton had a full scale model of his chair concept made from polystyrene which was not suitable for sitting on but would help him find a manufacturer. Today this model, which is often incorrectly described as a prototype, is part of the collection of the Vitra Design Museum and shows significant differences to the later Panton Chair. In the early Sixties Panton came into contact with Willi Fehlbaum, the managing director of Vitra at the time, who indicated his readiness to develop the chair to the series production stage, Panton moved with his family to Basle. However, it was not until the years between 1965 and 1967 that the development work on the chair was driven forward intensively.
In August 1967 the Panton Chair was presented to the public for the first time. Since then the chair has been produced in four different versions from four different types of plastic and with the aid of different types of production technology.
There were both financial and aesthetic reasons for the change in materials. All versions were developed in close cooperation between the manufacturer and Verner Panton.
The production history of the Panton Chair is as follows:
initial series production from cold-moulded, fibre-glass reinforced polyester resin, painted in various colours. Manufacturer: Herman Miller/Vitra
the second series model made of polyurethane rigid foam, painted in various colours.
Manufacturer: Herman Miller/Vitra
the third series model made of coloured thermoplastic polystyrene (Luran S). The chairs made of this material can be identified by the ridges below the bend between the seating area and the base.
Manufacturer: Vitra; in the USA until 1975 Herman Miller
The Panton Chair was not in production from 1979 to 1983.
1983 to present day
second version of the chair made of painted polyurethane rigid foam. This series can be identified by Panton's signature on the base.
Manufacturer: 1983-1990 Horn on behalf of the WK Group; since 1990 Vitra; since 1999 this model has been marketed under the name Panton Chair Classic.
1999 to present day
fourth series model made of coloured polypropylene.
2005 to present day
Panton Junior made of coloured polypropylene (a smaller version of the Panton Chair made to scale for children from the age of three).