Denmark’s Verner Panton has long been one of my favorite designers. While I was in design school I wrote a paper on his and Eero Aarnio’s respective work and its correlation to the world’s fascination with futurism and outer space in the 1960′s and 70′s. In my mind, each of these designer’s progressive use of shape and cutting-edge materials were the design equivellient of sending rockets into space, and in the case of Panton, many of his interiors made you feel like you were there.
So, a few months ago when I heard Verpan, the manufacturer of Panton’s lighting, was going to be manufacturing some new furniture pieces I was truly ecstatic. Vitra has long held the reigns to the classic Panton chair, the Cone series, the Amoebe, the C1 and the Living Tower but now Verpan is digging up some new items from the Panton vaults and there’s no better place to start than the much sought after System 1-2-3 chairs.
Taking 3 years to design, the System 1-2-3 chairs originally comprised 20 different models with variations in seat height, arm rests and feet. In true renegade Verner Panton form he stated “I wanted to design furniture that grows up out of the floor – to turn the furniture into something organic and never with four legs.” These chairs certainly align themselves to that credo with their conical bases and sculptural, organic form. Originally manufactured in 1973 by Fritz Hansen and named 1-2-3 after the 3 qualities of upholstery offered, System 1-2-3 chairs have long been sought after by collectors and have sold for hefty sums at auction. Now, with the re-introduction of the lounge and dining versions by Verpan, these amazing chairs are well within the grasp of everyone.
Officially licensed, and approved by Mrs. Panton herself, the chairs have been slightly updated to use foam rubber for increased sitting comfort and to ensure a tight and even upholstering. Still true to the 1-2-3 name they can be covered in either fabric, leather or deluxe tufted leather. The chairs are available in America exclusively through Design Within Reach (lucky me!) and are just the beginning of more models to come from Verpan in the coming years.
Check out some of Verner Panton’s otherworldly environments below then come see me and both versions of the System 1-2-3 at Design Within Reach – North Avenue Studio in Chicago. Not in the Chicago area? Call me at (312) 482-8661 to order yours!