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What Is a Panton Chair?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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A Panton chair is a type of chair designed by Verner Panton in the 1960s. It is a cantilevered design that often looks S-shaped; the chair itself was originally made from molded plastic, and modern versions are often made of fiberglass. The chair itself usually comes in solid colors, and a wide range of colors are available. The Panton chair is often marketed as much as a piece of art as it is a piece of furniture, since its distinctive look is eye-catching and entirely unique. The design was at the height of its popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, and while not as popular as they once were, the chairs are still commonly found in homes throughout the world.

Verner Panton was one of Denmark's premier designers, and he experimented with plastics to create many designs of furniture. He focused on bright colors and sweeping curves, as well as soft lines. The Panton chair was perhaps his most notable design, and it was popular for two decades or more before falling into obscurity. Its popularity resurged in the early 2000s, and the chairs are still produced and sold all over the world.

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The Panton chair features a cantilevered design, which means it does not have four legs like traditional chairs do. Instead, it features a base that supports a leg extending to the front of the seat. The seat then extends horizontally and parallel to the base, before it transitions into the seat back, which is vertical and perpendicular to the base. A person's weight is supported on the seat by balancing the weight against the base through the front arm. The design may, in some cases, allow the Panton chair to flex, giving it a rocking sensation. Stronger, thicker materials will prevent such movement, providing a stable sitting platform.

The seat of the Panton chair is scooped to enhance comfort, and the seat back is molded as well to better aid in comfort. Some owners of the Panton chair choose to put an upholstered cushion on the seat for even more added comfort, though the shape of the chair itself usually prevents the need for such cushioning. Variations on the Panton chair have been developed, though they are almost never marketed under the Panton name. Such designs modify the original S-shaped design with angles, different materials, different colors, and even so-called enhancements on the comfort level of the chair.

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