Design Icon

Design Icon: Panton Chair

by Maxwell Tielman


Design: Panton Chair (Previously known as the “S” chair)

Designer: Verner Panton (Danish, 1926-1998)

Date: ca. 1960

Country of Origin: Denmark

Manufacturer: Vitra

Materials & Construction:  One singular piece of fiber-reinforced plastic, synthetic polymer paint. Today produced with polypropylene with integral color.

Background: An icon that is emblematic of the “Space Age” ethos of the 1960s, Verner Panton’s Panton chair is not just notable for its psychedelic curves, but for its pioneering use of molded plastic. The chair has the distinction of being one of the first stackable plastic chairs and the first chair design to use just a single mold. From its gently curved top to its sweeping, concave base, the entire object is one solid, uninterrupted form. The chair has been in continuous production since its creation and remains an immediately recognizable mainstay of modern interiors the world over.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.

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  • I enjoy this series but loathe that chair–always have. It looks like a snail or a slug to me. Utterly graceless and clunky, no matter the color. I actually recoil when I see it. But you’re right that it’s a style icon. Glad you got to and and can now move on! :)