50 years after its launch, Vitra introduces two limited editions of this iconic classic, the Panton Chrome and Panton Glow.
After several years of joint development by Verner Panton and Vitra, the Panton Chair was finally ready for production in 1967 – as the first all-plastic cantilever chair to be manufactured in one piece. Created with a revolutionary production technique, the chair’s unique sculptural design was presented to the public for the first time at the imm Furniture Fair in Cologne in 1968. It rapidly came to symbolise an entire era.
Throughout his career, Verner Panton was fascinated by mirrored surfaces and experimented with diverse reflective effects more extensively than almost any other designer. This passion is evident in his works of furniture and lighting as well as many of his expressive interiors.
With the new Panton Chrome edition, an old dream of the designer finally comes to fruition: back in the early 1970s he had explored the option of giving the Panton Chair a mirrored surface. He felt that the chair’s dynamic curves were particularly suited to a reflective coating; however, the sensitivity of such a surface to scratching was an insurmountable technical obstacle at that time.
Today, almost 50 years later, a reliable yet complex procedure is available, one that involves highly specialised hand craftsmanship. The dazzling mirrored effect of Panton Chrome is the result of a metallisation process, in which metal particles are embedded in multiple layers of varnish. This complex coating system is resilient enough to cope with the slight movement of the cantilever chair when in use, while being sufficiently robust to efficiently protect the sensitive surface.
Verner Panton showed an ardent interest in innovative technologies, techniques and materials over the course of his lifetime. He worked with lighting, colour and luminous elements in many of his futuristic interiors. For his legendary 1970 installation ‘Visiona 2’, in particular, he developed walls and ceilings that appeared to glow from within as a result of their layout and colour scheme, giving the room a psychedelic look. With this in mind, Vitra has developed the new Panton Glow in consultation with Verner’s wife Marianne Panton.
In an elaborate process, five layers of a varnish containing phosphorescent pigments are carefully applied by hand to the raw polyurethane shell of the Panton Classic and sealed with a high-gloss protective coating. The luminous pigments absorb daylight and emit a blue glow in the dark. The almost ghostly appearance of Panton Glow in the obscurity of night has a somewhat mystical aura and sheds new light – quite literally – on this iconic classic.
Both in imited edition, the Panton Chrome will be available in March, while the Panton Glow will be available in June 2018.
all images courtesy of Vitra