This past Friday the Danish Embassy in Berlin opened an exhibition devoted to the work of Verner Panton – from his early works up to his influence of today’s young Danish designers.
The first exhibition of Verner Panton’s work in Germany for 10 years, PANTON is largely based around the collection of André Barss – a young Berlin Panton collector.
A few years ago André was at an exhibition, saw a Panton Chair – and was so irritated by the fact that he couldn’t sit on it and try it for himself that he went home and bought one via an online auction portal.
3-2-1-it was his. As they say.
What began with a Panton Chair has grown into a comprehensive collection Verner Panton’s furniture including his Cone Chair, Tivoli Chair, and even a Phantom.
A product we proudly admit to not fully understanding. Or particularly liking.
Curator Ida Engholm from the Danish Design Research Centre in Copenhagen has split the “Panton” part of the exhibition into three sections, Panton the modernist, “Pop Panton”, and Panton the post-modernist – a decision which wonderfully draws attention to the variety in Verner Panton’s work.
Speaking to Ida Engholm at the opening, she attributed the shift in Panton’s styles to the fact that he was always interested and aware of what was happening in terms of design thinking around him: The modernist Panton with wonderful minimalistic, almost Bauhaus, studies such as the Bachelor Chair before Pop art exploded on the international scene. And then, after the heady euphoria of Pop Art, came the inevitable hangover and Panton and his contemporaries largely reverted to reworking some of their earlier works.
A good example being the Tivoli Chair which Panton continually re-worked right up until his untimely death.
Given the fact that the exhibition in effect began with the fact that André Barss wasn’t allowed to sit on a piece of Panton furniture, it is especially fitting that one of the highlights on opening night was his Living Tower – one of the few pieces that visitors can actually try out.
For us the joy and social communication that Living Tower caused mirrors the character and philosophy of Verner Panton more than anything else on show.
The section devoted to young Danish designers includes works by designers such as Louise Campbell and Tine Mouritsen
If we did have one criticism of the exhibition it would be that the section devoted to new Danish talent is simply too small to allow for a proper comparison. One simply can’t decide if what is being shown is representative, or simply a few study pieces created à la Panton.
There is a lot of very good young Danish furniture design talent and it would really be nice if the Danish Embassy followed up PANTON with a dedicated showcase of some of the talent. Possibly just ahead of Copenhagen Design Week…..
(A second complaint would be the inclusion of Clouds by those well known Danes Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. For us Kvadrat as producer is simply too weak and tenuous a link to show a product such as Clouds. Wonderful as it is.)
However, in general, whereas not especially extensive in terms of floor space or number of presented items, PANTON does provide a wonderful introduction for those not familiar with Verner Panton’s complete oeuvre.
And for those who know the works, PANTON offers a wonderful chance to compare and contrast various items in one – wonderful – location.
PANTON and contemporary Danish Design runs at the Nordic Embassy, Felleshus in Berlin until 28.02
And if you go – do try out the Living Tower. We believe it is what Verner Panton would want!
More Information can be found at : www.nordicembassies.org/