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A ray of light to a happy, colorful future?
The late, great Verner Panton believed in this possibility, and designed with this in mind. The visionary Dane was the first to do inflatable furniture, cardboard houses and single-form, injection-molded plastic chairs—and all with an optimistic nod. Those chairs appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey; the same year experienced revolutions in the streets of Paris, Rome and the U.S. celebrating change by a generation fueled on Flower Power and a new outlook on the world.
Verner marked it all the next year with the FlowerPot series of table and pendant lights. Spherical, bold and modern, they are as fresh looking now as they were in 1969. No wonder Copenhagen house &Tradition decided to reissue them.
Design is never static. When Copenhagen-based &Tradition was established in 2010, founder Martin Kornbek Hansen's mission was to produce work that was defined by a unique vision, whether it came from Danish legends of the past or young innovators of the future. The roster extends from timeless luminaries such as Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen to current leading lights Samuel Wilkinson and Norm.Architects to exciting new names Mia Hamborg and Victor Vetterlein. As the company's Kornbek Hansen puts it: "We see a kinship between the old masters, who were avant-garde in their time, and new designers creating the ground-breaking icons of today."
With its library of furniture and lighting extending from the 1930s to the present day, the firm is uniquely positioned to carry on the Nordic tradition of unstinting craftsmanship and adroit use of materials. Nonetheless, &Tradition sees its future in global terms, handpicking design talent and production facilities internationally in an effort to continually produce relevant product and engage a new generation of conscious consumers.
Verner Panton has been called the most un-Danish of famous Danish designers. His 1960 breakthrough, the injection-molded, plastic S Chair, vividly summed up his experimental nature, propensity for bold color and relish for new materials. Then regarded as the bad boy of post-war Scandinavian design, he had originally studied architecture at the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen, graduating in 1951. After a 2-year stint in the offices of fellow Dane Arne Jacobsen, he struck out on his own and his early architectural proposals using unlikely elements such as cardboard and plastics attracted wide notice.
One of the iconic designers of the 20th century, Verner’s work was animated with a sense of fun and remains popular and influential today. "Most people spend their lives living in dreary, grey-beige conformity, mortally afraid of using colors,” said the designer, who died in 1998. “I try to show new ways, to encourage people to use their imagination and make their surroundings more exciting.”