20 Jul
The Panton Chair turns 50, gets a makeover

This year one of the more iconic furniture pieces in modern design marked its 50th anniversary. Creator Verner Panton first dreamt up the idea of a cantilevered single-piece plastic chair around 1959, not realizing that it would take almost a decade to come to life. When the Panton Chair finally arrived on the market in 1967, plastic technology was not able to produce a chair that didn’t crack or break, so production of the chair was suspended in the late 1970s. Once a new casting method — using rigid polyurethane foam — was employed in the 1980s production resumed. But progress in plastics technology allowed that the Panton Chair could once again be manufactured by injection moulding as well (now in  fully-recyclable polypropylene), which meant it was possible to also offer an inexpensive version of the Panton Chair, thereby opening up the classic design to a much wider audience. To celebrate this milestone in design, Vitra UK launched a competition to find the best customized Panton Chair, inviting architects and designers to present their unique revision of the iconic design piece. The winning chair, above, was designed by London architecture/design company Jump Studios, and was a deserving champion. Their design uses the original chair’s curvaceous frame, but incorporates a cat’s cradle thread structure to create the seat. Stunning. All 31 entries were auctioned off on July 1st,  and about $15,000 were raised for the UK-based homeless charity Shelter. More chairs, including 2nd place (top left) and 3rd place (one over to its right), below.

See the original Panton Chair after the Jump…

The original groundbreaking design…

4 Responses to “Celebrating 50 Years Of a Modern Design Classic”

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