Verner Panton to remain at Der Spiegel. At least partly.

For a publication renowned for the quality of its authors, the Spiegel press department write press releases that repeat themselves a lot.

That said we were delighted to receive the one that reached us at the start of the week.

If less delighted to read it.

And not just on account its cyclical nature.

Verner Panton Spiegel canteen Hanburg

The Spiegel Canteen in Hamburg by Verner Panton

Unquestionably one of Verner Panton’s most famous interior design projects, his 1969 work for the Spiegel publishing group’s HQ in Hamburg is a monstrous testament to…. well Verner Panton.

With its well considered confusion of colour, materials and forms, the Spiegel building can be considered together with his 1970 Visiona 2 installation as representing the zenith of Verner Panton’s work as an interior designer.

Panton created numerous spaces throughout the building, with the exception of the offices which remained white; however, a mix of negligent renovation and bad luck mean only the canteen and snack bar have survived into the 21st century.

Sadly. Because not only was the work a thundering testament to it’s creators comprehension of the world: it is also a documentation of how the world has moved on since 1969.

How many companies today would install a swimming pool for their employees?

And with Der Spiegel and its band of merry men heading off to a new building in the vast soulless expanse of the Hamburg Hafencity, the future of the last remaining intact pieces of Pantons masterwork was in doubt.


On Monday Spiegel announced, several times in the space of 5 paragraphs, that the majority of the work will be donated to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.
A small proportion however will remain in the new Spiegel House.

Although somewhat disconcertingly the press release states that the “new snack bar” on the 5th floor will have “elements of the old – albeit more transparent, roomier and with wonderful views”

Which all just sounds like a company announcing that they’ve bought a couple of pieces of art to display in their new snack bar.

Now there is nothing wrong with companies buying art for their HQs.

We know several young artists who’ve been saved from eviction because some multi-national has snapped up one of their works.

But Panton’s work for Spiegel isn’t about the colours and shapes.

Its not about psychedelia. His work was never about psychedelia, it was always about the psychological effects of colour on the human organism.

That’s why the Spiegel workers used to open their office doors to let the colour flow from the corridors into their monotone offices. No one works well in white cell!

It is about the complete work. It’s a composition. Unlike the Spiegel press release.

And it’s certainly not art.

If we’re honest we’d rather everything went to the MKGH.

That would be a more honourable and respectful end to one of the greatest chapters in German interior design.

There it would at least be amongst people who care for it, appreciate it and understand it.

A sentiment we believe truly is worth repeating.

Verner Panton Spiegel canteen Hanburg Knoll

Not just bright ... but beautifully incorporates the Bertoia Chair from Knoll International

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