Verner Panton (Danish, 1926–1998) was an influential furniture and interior designer. Born on the island of Funen in Denmark, Panton studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. After graduating in 1951, he served as an apprentice to pioneering Functionalist designer Arne Jacobsen, assisting him in the execution of the iconic Ant Chair. Although influenced by Jacobsen’s organic style, Panton initially established himself as an avant-garde designer, creating furniture based on elaborate geometric shapes, using strong colors.
In the years after establishing his own firm in 1955, Panton attracted a great deal of controversy with his new architectural concepts. In 1958, he shocked audiences and critics with work presented as part of the Applied Art show at the Fredericia Furniture Fair, displaying the furniture by hanging it from the ceiling. With his Cone Chair and Heart Chair, both made of upholstered bent sheet metal, he began to alter the way the chair was structured. Apart from having no discernable back, the chairs also had no legs and were shaped like cylinders.
The 1960 stacking Panton Chair, the first to be produced from a single piece of molded plastic, brought the artist international recognition. First shown at the Mobilia club, and given an A.I.D. award in 1968, the chair was designed to give a soft, rather than rigid, support. Originally produced by Fritz Hansen, it was later put into mass production by Herman Miller.
Following the success of the Panton Chair, Panton went on to produce a variety of popular objects, including the Flowerpot Lamp and the Pantower, as well as a number of domestic living spaces, all of which were defined by his characteristic geometric shapes and bright colors.
He died in Copenhagen at the age of 72.