panton’s unlikely chairs

last week i was calmly sitting on a swivel barstool when it decided to collapse. i had sat on this chair many days a week for years at a thrift store’s desk.  not that i sit much, but unnoticed this wood chair had succumbed to the florida heat and humidity so that when i did sit there this day, it gave out.  it was a strange feeling having the chair collapse under me, once so trusted.

so i come to the unlikely chairs of verner (or vernon?) panton, l’enfant terrible of danish furniture design. his designs have been described as innovative, provocative, sensational, visionary, and eccentric.  

vernon panton cone chair @ retrodecades.com

vernon panton cone chair @ retrodecades.com, a 1958 design

will it hold me?  maybe you are a small person and this question has never come up.  i am not particularly large, but i would not call myself small either.  i find myself eying this chair with suspicion.  impressed by the improbable design, i am not convinced of its strength. given the larger average proportions of people over the decades, i would be interested to know what weight the design holds.  

panton seems to have been escaping reality and weight, as others were in the 1960s.  

the first one-piece molded plastic chair, the panton chair, 1960

the first one-piece molded plastic chair, the panton chair, 1960

phantasy landscape, verner panton, 1970, at the visiona 2 exhibit, cologne design fair

phantasy landscape, verner panton, 1970, at the visiona 2 exhibit, cologne design fair

marcus miller explains panton’s well known fantasy landscape: “This soft, undulating womb of an environment, composed of upholstered foam panels, virtually dispenses with gravity. Leisure-seekers would recline across any number of organic protrusions built into modules that paid little or no attention to conventional coordinates like up or down. Panton’s immersive environments and futuristic designs of the 60s gave flesh to the dream of a blissful world free of constraints.” Marcus Miller

the phrase l’enfant terrible, literally the terrible child, refers to a successful avant garde, unorthodox person.  it also carries the meaning of a shockingly candid child embarrassing his elders with his comments and ideas.   i do find panton’s dismissal of constraints shocking, but the wild abandon has it’s attractions… can’t get the falling chair out of my mind, though…

dosbananos.com has several vintage panton pieces available this week.

vintage cone chairs, denmark @ dosbananos.com

vintage cone chairs, denmark @ dosbananos.com

vintage heart cone chair @ dosbananos.com

vintage heart cone chair @ dosbananos.com

jens risom, living and working past 92!

i plan to live into my 90s and be productive and useful in some way until i die. you think about these things when you are nearing 50…  

if you need inspiration to set yourself such a goal, read an article about furniture designer jens risom at dwr’s design notes.  in my hunt for decent design websites, dwr, design within reach is so far my favorite.  they offer some thoughtful substance, not just bits of waffle and a picture or two. 

2008, jens risom (age 92), with dwr design studio, originally designed in 1949 for the caribe hilton hotel in puerto rico.

2008, jens risom (age 92), with dwr design studio, originally designed in 1949 for the caribe hilton hotel in puerto rico.

dwr worked with risom in 2008 to remake a 1949 chair and ottoman, and a bench.  what an opportunity, to be able to tap into all those years of hard work and wisdom. they used different materials and techniques, but risom has always been interested  in efficient production and exceptional accessible design.  he worked with this dwr team to do the same thing again.  

my granny lived into her 90s.  i remember her, her smile and the twinkle in her eyes well.  my goal is a distinct possibility….

the best lounge chair design: the la-z-boy??

 

a la-z-boy recliner

a la-z-boy recliner

 

 

second to tv’s, la-z-boy recliners are the fastest selling items at your local thrift store.  for some this may be the perfect lounge chair.  their factory pumps out 6000 a day, they say.  maybe la-z-boy’s stocks will never go down.  the makers have an impressive history of clever invention, risk taking, hard work. you can read about it at lazboy incorporated company history.  and shop for a wide variety of reclining chair styles at la-z-boy.com.

we have one at my house, and it has been well used.  but for my personal hunt for a lounge chair, it is out of the running right away.  it is an anti-social chair.  it says “leave me alone with my tv.”  now this may be harsh, but tell me this is not what most people in your house sit in it for?  

when i lounge, i prefer not to do nothing or to zone out.  i like to talk with a friend, read a book, do some needlework, or diddle on my laptop (check my mail, scan the news, do a bit of twittering and blogging, read interior design articles and blogs), have a drink or eat a bit.  these activities are not conducive to the reclined position.  i want my feet up, sometimes, to rest my head, sometimes, but to maintain an attitude of engagement with life and the people around me.  when i want to check out and sleep i go to bed. 

compromise: at our house a few years ago we bought a big leather couch, each half of which reclines, with no arm rest (divider contraption) in the middle.  it is one big cosy lounge couch for two, or for two with a grandchild in between.  it still sort of says, “leave us alone we are watching tv,” but it is more social.  and jungle book or mary poppins make for very happy conversation with a small person.

 

reclining sofa -- for social tv watching

reclining sofa -- for social tv watching