Modern Icons: the Cone Chairs of Vernor Panton

Architect, furniture designer and fabric designer Vernor Panton wanted people to fulfill their lives with color. He studied architecture in The Royal Danish Academy of Art in the late 1940s, where his instructor P√łul Henningsen piqued his interest in product design. Upon graduating he apprenticed under Arne Jacobsen and was a part of the group who worked on Jacobsen’s iconic Ant Chair. After a few years he took off for his midcentury variant of this Grand Tour, traveling around Europe in a VW bus he had outfitted as a mobile studio.

Branching out on his own, he also used new materials in surprising ways, letting shapes like cones and hearts inspire seat designs. “The main intention of my work is to excite people into using their creativity and create their environment more exciting,” he said. In 1958 he designed the Cone Chair, which resulted in the Heart Cone Chair a year later. Both made their environment more exciting where they moved, most notably a 1961 New York City window display where the seats, draped in nude mannequins, literally stopped traffic and have been ordered removed by the police. They’re still drawing attention now.

Christopher A Rose AIA, ASID

The pop design of this red heart-shaped seat is a natural fit for Warhol-inspired eyebrow wallpaper.

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Heart Cone Chair by Verner Panton – EUR 2,475

The seat has a glass-fiber-reinforced shell that is covered in a thin coating of upholstery and topped off with a chair cushion. The foundation, made from brushed stainless steel, allows it to spin.

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Panton Heart Cone Chair – $4,115

The wool upholstery is available in red, black, blue and orange.

Robert Granoff

The seat punctuates a gallery-like area, like a heart-shaped exclamation point.

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Panton Heart Chair – $4,115

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Verner Panton Cone Chair – $3,025

The Heart Cone Chair is a version of Panton’s original Cone Chair, revealed here. Panton designed the very first run of hearts for the restaurant his parents owned, The Komigen Inn, in Denmark.

Tori Golub Interior Design

The futuristic, gravity-defying silhouette of this Cone Chair was a breakthrough for Panton, who was moving away from the popular Danish modern aesthetics of his former mentor Jacobsen and his buddy Hans Wegner and into the spirit of the space era.

Poolehaus Residential Design

Although it is a statement seat, its simple silhouette means it also functions as a versatile seat.

Panton’s whimsical designs fell out of favor in the 1970s but are enjoying renewed popularity now. In combination with this Panton estate, the German firm Vitra has rereleased a number of Panton’s most striking designs, such as the Cone Chair along with Heart Cone Chair.

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