In Conversation With: Verpan’s Peter Frandsen + Exclusive Giveaway

It’s not often we get the chance to time travel, to rediscover in new futuristic forms the artistic powers of bygone masters. Founded in 2003, Verpan is responsible for the archives of legendary Danish designer, Verner Panton. Working in close collaboration with his family, they have begun to dip back into his treasure trove to unearth never-before-seen designs, allowing a new generation to fall in love all over again.

As part of our on-going In Conversation series, we sat down with CEO, Peter Frandsen, to discuss the A/W 18 collection and the life and times of this great master.

1) Who was Verner Panton and why is he still relevant today?

In short, Verner Panton was a curious, creative and eccentric architect turned designer who in many ways revolutionized the way that we look at and appreciate design. He had a deep understanding of combining form and function – and maybe most importantly – he really understood the importance of colours.

On a personal level, I can say that Panton is a big part of my life. I admire his contribution to the world of design, and I admire his way of doing things. I know that his designs and his approach to the craft have inspired a lot of people, and that’s something I know his family is proud of.

Panton is relevant today and will continue to be so, mainly because of his massive back catalogue of great modern designs. He was always ahead of his time and whenever he designed an object, whether it was furniture or lighting, he was always very focused around the user experience. His designs were created from this idea of ‘form meets function’, which means that an object should always fulfil a purpose while maintaining a certain relevance in its design language

2) How does Panton compare with some of the other well-known Scandi designers like Arne Jacobsen or Poul Henningsen?

He was actually friendly with both of these legendary designers. Panton had a great friendship with Arne Jacobsen having studied together for 2 years as an architect. Poul Henningsen was another close personal friend and actually the person that introduced Verner to Arne.

But to answer your questions, I think that Verner Panton was much more international in his design profile and approach. Throughout their careers, both Jacobsen and Henningsen had a very clear and straight design profile, whereas Panton was much more curious. If you look at the beginning of his career in the 1950s up until his death in 1998, he was constantly developing his design and style. He was highly versatile and by far the designer who embraced the widest range of materials in his designs. In 1960, he was the first person ever to design an Inflatable Plastic Chair — limitations just didn’t exist for him.  He also designed products in acrylic, plastic, metal, marble, glass, steel, wood and porcelain, the list goes on.

Verner Panton also loved colours and used colours throughout his life. Unfortunately, many misunderstand his use of colours and thought that some of his designs were only intended for one colour, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It never was his intention and if you look through the archives, you will also see many different colours in different parts of his life.

His own favourite colour was blue, which might come as a surprise to many who only know him for his very colourful landscapes from the beginning of the 1970s.

3) Building a brand around a single designer, even one celebrated as Panton, is no easy task. How do you juggle preserving such a great legacy while remaining innovative?

The fact that we are working with one of the most versatile designers in history definitely helps. Verner Panton constantly strived to be relevant and ahead of the curve both in terms of materials used and applied manufacturing processes. Constant development was at the core of his philosophy, and this gives us the luxury to update his designs by using better materials and smarter production methods to keep his designs relevant and alive.

The extent of his archive is so huge that there are plenty of designs for us to introduce in the future. Such diversity means that we continue to find designs for different moments and categories, so we’re never limited to just one style.

I also think that part of preserving his legacy means continuously introducing new products and updating our existing range, allowing new ways for people to experience and appreciate his genius.

4) When realizing some of the more recent designs you must have had to work pretty closely alongside the Panton family. How are they to work with?    

We have always worked very closely with the Panton Estate and especially Marianne Panton, Verner Panton’s wife. Marianne Panton was with Verner for most of his life and she was very much involved in the design, manufacturing and marketing of his designs. This gives her the unique ability to both understand and communicate his design philosophy while at the same time understand our side of the business. This is a huge help to us.

Over the years, working with the Panton family has turned into a friendship and it’s something that I cherish very much.

5) The Series 430 and System 1-2-3 families are some of our favourite furniture designs. Could you tell us a little bit more about their histories?

These 2 stories are actually great examples of his versatility. He designed the Series 430 Chair for Thonet in 1967. It was a complete range of chairs, tables, stools and barstools. It’s actually one of the very few chairs, if not the only Panton chair, made with four legs. Depending on what fabric or leather you use, the chair will take on different personalities and expressions. He designed the Series 430 chair and stool with elastic bands in the seat for ultimate comfort, which was always an important thing for Panton.

When we launched it, it came to many as a surprise that it was a ‘Panton’, due to its very classic look and style and that is exactly what I mean. It is personally one of my favourite chairs  — sit on it for a little while and you will know why.

Not long after, in 1973, Panton designed the System 123 range for Fritz Hansen. A large range with many different options, we decided to launch only the dining chair and lounge chair to start with. His intention was to create a more organic looking chair that appeared to be growing out of the floor on a single, perfect base.

I think that if you put these two chairs up side by side it is difficult to see that they were designed by the same person, but that is in my book part of what makes Verner Panton brilliant. The only giveaway is the comfort which was a constant priority for both designs.

6) Are there any new products we should keep an eye out for in 2018?

Yes! We’re loving the new Series 430 Barstool and the VP168 Sofa from the Panton archives. Over the next year, you can expect many more exciting new pieces and we’re constantly updating the existing collections with new colours.

7) Favourite Panton quote?

 “Beautiful can be ugly – ugly can be beautiful,” I love that quote!

We’re also delighted to announce that Chaplins has teamed up with Verpan to offer two lucky followers the chance to win an orange or a red mirror throw. To enter, simply tag a friend in the comments section of our Verpan giveaway post and follow both @chaplinsfurniture and @verpanuk on Instagram. Good luck!

The winners will be announced on the 3rd October and will be contacted via Instagram direct message.

SHOP VERPAN FURNITURE AND LIGHTING ONLINE AT CHAPLINS

 

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