At Salone del Mobile we had the great honor to spend time with Marianne Panton (pictured with the DWR team, third from left), who shared personal insights and stories about her late husband, the masterful designer Verner Panton. The designer passed away in 1998, leaving behind a portfolio of work that is still unmatched in terms of innovative, beautiful and thought-provoking modern design. CONTINUED + MORE PHOTOS…
DWR: Can you describe Verner’s design process?
MARIANNE PANTON: Whenever ideas came to him – day or night – he put them down in small sketches on any piece of paper at hand. He did not have a sketchbook, but always carried small, checkered cards in his breast pocket. When it came to criticism, he only accepted it when it was followed by constructive suggestions.
DWR: In your opinion, what is the most comfortable piece of Verner Panton furniture?
MP: The 1-2-3 chairs [shown above] and the Panton Chair are my favorites.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The ceiling of the Pantons’ dining room was literally covered with Fun Lamp pendants (shown below), which are her favorite of all the Panton lighting. She said that when the air conditioning ran, it would gently stir them and they’d make that beautiful Fun Lamp sound. “A friend of ours compared it to the Buddha’s mantra,” she said.
DWR: What do you think contributed to the perfect storm (if you will) that allowed Verner to challenge that definition of Danish modernism?
MP: After the Second World War, people, especially in Western Europe, were eager for change and ready to take on a challenge. Also, the war had provoked a massive development of new technologies and new materials. It was only natural for someone as curious as Verner to pick up the ball!
DWR: Verner designed things unlike any other designer of his time, or even today. Where did these ideas and shapes come from?
MP: Verner hated to look at a dining room and see it filled with chair legs. He didn’t like legs. So he designed chairs without them. His chairs and tables appear to grow up from out of the floor.
DWR: What was Verner’s favorite color?
MP: He loved all colors, except white. When it came to clothes, however, he invariably preferred blue, but for practical reasons – everything always fitted together.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When I asked her what she thought of this year’s Salone del Mobile, she replied: “It needs more color.”
DWR: What was his favorite material?
MP: All kinds of plastics, because of their versatility.
DWR: Do you think there was a time when Verner knew that he had made it?
DWR: The company Verpan is about to launch furniture and rugs from the Verner Panton archives. How do you feel about this?
MP: They all excite me, and I marvel at the astounding development and improvement that has taken place in the meantime – in materials, technologies and quality!
EDITOR'S NOTE: While we were speaking, a woman came into the Verner Panton booth and purchased chairs for her home in Saudi Arabia. To which Mrs. Panton replied: “I like to think of Verner’s work being enjoyed all over the world.”
As DWR customers, you’re about to feel that joy first hand. We have partnered with Verpan and we’ll soon offer furniture and rugs by Verner Panton, adding to the lights and Panton Chair we currently offer by this modern master. These new items are all DWR exclusives and will be available for preorder in May.