Verner Panton – A Monograph

Research and Innovation

Ida Engholm (Associate Professor at the Institute of Visual Design) and Anders Michelsen (Associate Professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen) have written the recently published book, Verner Panton – A Monograph. The book describes Verner Panton’s colourful oeuvre and provides a rare glimpse of Panton’s private photo album.

Verner Panton (1916-1998) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in 1951, and was one of a great generation of Danish designers and architects. Wegner, Kjærholm and Børge Mogensen were his contemporaries. However, whereas they worked with wood and natural materials in subdued colours, Panton preferred plastic, steel, foam rubber and other synthetic materials – and the brightest of bright colours. Whereas his colleagues cultivated traditional craftsmanship, Panton was determined to create industrially manufactured products, directly for a mass market.

Verner and Marianne Panton. © Panton Design, Basel

Ground-breaking and ahead of his time

That meant he was ahead of his time, and in Denmark not many people understood him. It was mainly abroad that he was to realise his ideas, paving the way for generations of younger designers. In return, he was met with international recognition and fame, and today Verner Panton is considered one of the most admired and trend-setting designers in 1960s Europe.

In the course of time, Denmark also took to his colourful universe and iconic designs. Today the majority of Danes know Verner Panton’s designs or have one of his well-known lamps in their home. Panton designed the likes of the Flowerpot lamp, the Panthella lamp, the Globe lamp and the Moon lamp, all of which are still available and sold on a grand scale.

Globelampen. © Panton Design, Basel
Panthella-lampen. © Panton Design, Basel

The book for design enthusiasts and theoreticians

Even though Verner Panton came close to being an international superstar in the design arena, this is his first monograph. It is aimed at any reader with an interest in culture and design, and anyone wishing to learn about the past 50 years of design history.

“You can read the book on several levels. We have combined the dissemination of research with a coffee table format and a wealth of images. That means you can either enjoy an easily accessible overview by reading the captions to the images, or delve more deeply into the historical and theoretical texts about Panton and his time,” says the writer, Ida Engholm. “Thanks to extensive visual material from the Panton family, we have been able to show new aspects of Panton and photos and sketches that have never been seen before. Panton was norm breaking in every way, in terms of production technology, materials and cultural form. Today, when we again face new technological breakthroughs and, particularly, new social challenges, we can learn from the way he broke the rules and explored new areas of opportunity for design.”

Panton-chair with belonging tabels and Shell-lamp. © Panton Design, Basel
The building of Circus in Copenhagen. © Panton Design, Basel
The heart chair. © Panton Design, Basel
© Panton Design, Basel
© Panton Design, Basel
© Panton Design, Basel

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