Cone Chair
Denmark, 1959
Verner Panton

Cast steel, foam rubber, wool upholstery
32⁵⁄₁₆ x 22⁷⁄₁₆”

Verner Panton (Danish, 1926 - 1998) was trained as an architectural engineer at a technical school in Odense, and earned a degree in architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen in 1951. During the 1950s, he worked in the office of Arne Jacobsen, one of Denmark’s leading architects, as well as for various design firms, including Fritz Hansen, Louis Poulsen, and the textile firm Unika Vaev. He gained international recognition for a series of modern chairs that broke from the traditional chair form and he experimented with new materials and advanced production techniques, from tubular steel to bent sheet metal to injection-molded plastic.

Panton also served as art director for the Swiss textile firm Mira-X, and in that capacity designed many commercial interiors. He is perhaps best known for his designs for Visiona, a series of “floating exhibitions” in Cologne commissioned by German chemical company Bayer. These psychedelic environments in saturated colors combined Panton’s own textiles, wallcoverings, furniture and lighting to create an immersive experience.

Danish designer and architect Verner Panton created some of his greatest designs from experimenting with form, materials, and rich color, the latter being one of Panton’s trademarks. Color was often a focal point in his furnishings, as seen in this vibrant red, futuristic looking cone chair. In his later work, Panton created rooms as total environments, focusing on textiles as coordinating elements and a means of expressing color in a unified interior. —Cooper Hewitt

(Photo: Cooper Hewitt)