Verner Panton (1926 - 1998) is one of Denmark's most influential designers - which is somewhat ironic considering that his work is rather "un-Danish" in many regards!
Whilst Danish mid-century design tends to be known for its restraint, Panton is known for his flamboyance. Having said that, his attention to detail and natural instinct for creating beautiful forms definitely reflect his Danish heritage.
Panton studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art and after graduation in 1951, worked at the architectural practice of Arne Jacobsen (another highly influential architect and furniture designer). He soon, however, stepped out of Jacobsen's shadow and started his own architectural and design firm and became known for his innovative approach.
In regard to furniture, Panton focused on chairs, many of which are now considered mid-century design icons. In the late 1950s, his chair designs became very avant garde and in 1960 he designed what is perhaps his most iconic work of all - the Stacking Chair or S Chair - the first single form, injection-moulded plastic chair.
Panton became synonomous with the 1960s and his designs epitomise the pop era. He became known for his highly original use of form and his bold use of colour. Along with his chairs, he created incredibly original lighting, fabric and wall sculptures.
In the late '60s and '70s, Panton experimented with designing entire environments - the most famous of which was the Fantasy Landscape he created for the Visiona Exhibition at the the 1970 Cologne Furniture Fair. The work was installed inside a boat and featured brightly coloured foam, sculpted into mind-blowing shapes which formed the walls, ceiling, floor and furniture. Images of the space look like a psychedelic painting.
Panton continued to design throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until his death in 1998. His designs never lost their sense of fun and innovation. Verner himself best sums up his aesthetic and approach: "The main purpose of my work is to provoke people into using their imagination. Most people spend their lives living in dreary, grey-beige conformity, mortally afraid of using colours ... I try to show new ways, to encourage people to use their fantasy imagination and make their surroundings more exciting."