R & Company shines a light on decades of Verner Panton’s lighting designs

In the 1950s and 1960s, Panton took a daring break from Danish design to fine woods in the world of plastics and industrial materials. Throughout there are iconic objects like the Heart cone chair, or the brilliantly Seussical Modular chair, a number framed by hanging textiles, which gives you the taste of immersing yourself in an original Panton interior. But the exhibition also documents pivotal moments in his career, such as the first plywood version of his polystyrene “S” chair.

There are rare pieces of limited series such as the Beylérien mirror and others that remain in production today, such as the Wire cone chair manufactured by Vitra. Some elements such as the Thonet 420 F sofa radiates richness but overall there is a material quality accessible to a number of pieces in the exhibition. Take the designer’s one Ball lamps for example, which look like shiny mobiles from Mars, but its orbs are made of Cellidor, a plastic recognizable by its use in the case of the Swiss Army Knife.

Photograph by Joe Kramm, courtesy of R & Company.

The spirals of Spiral lamp SP3 are made of mirror-chrome plastic, an everyday material that always provides a wonderful field of shadow and reflection from all angles. As today’s designers rethink the use of plastics in their work, Panton’s transformation of the materials of his time makes his settlements revolutionary in terms of craftsmanship, color and ambiance.

Verner Panton displays an impressive array of possibilities from the future past, brought to the 21st century for just a few months. As the designer often says: “Most people spend their lives in a drab gray-beige conformism, deathly afraid to use color. I try to show new ways, to encourage people to use their fantastic imaginations and to make their surroundings more exciting. The exhibit makes it clear that Panton is the right tonic whenever the weather or design trends turn gray again.

Verner Panton is on view at R & Company’s October 5, 2021 to January 8, 2022.

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