Please, Have a Seat-Interview with Marianne Panton

Vitra Magazine, by Jochen Overbeck of Icon magazine

Her husband made design history – primarily due to a single piece of furniture. 2018, on the 50th anniversary of its inception, Marianne Panton looks back on their life together and the creation of the Panton Chair.

What a delightful laugh Marianne Panton has! Exuberant, friendly, self-confident. She spent 36 years at the side of the great Verner Panton, and now she is sitting in the lounge of the Vitra furniture company in Weil am Rhein. Marianne Panton, her husband’s lifelong advisor and manager, enjoys spending time on the Vitra Campus. Many pieces created by Verner Panton, who died in 1998, are housed in the Schaudepot – the visible storage facility of the Vitra Design Museum, which also holds a large part of his estate. From the bright colours and curves of the Flowerpot Lamp to the tapered shape of the Cone Chair to the vibrant interior of the Spiegel canteen, his designs have gone down in history. The Panton Chair remains unsurpassed as an icon of Sixties design. Fifty years after its initial launch, Vitra issued two limited editions in 2018: 666 pieces of Panton Chrome (with a mirrored chrome surface) and 333 Panton Glow (with a fluorescent finish). A good moment to reflect on the past with Marianne Panton.

Mrs. Panton, what was your childhood like? Did you already have an interest in design during your youth?

Not in the least. I come from the country – from the last row of potatoes, as we say in Sweden. My father owned a large farmstead where my brother and I grew up surrounded by numerous animals, which were needed to run the farm in those days. At that time, everything in Sweden was still very conservative. First I went to a normal rural school, then attended a girls’ school and later transferred to another secondary school. Finally, I studied at a business college, where I met my first husband. It was what we called a student marriage in Sweden: two naive children who got married. But we separated soon afterwards. Then I met Verner Panton in 1962.

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