Emmenthaler Sofa by Verner Panton

Emmenthaler Sofa by Verner Panton

I took this photo September 24, 2011 in the Milan Triennale Design Museum

“Look at how children sit on the edge of a chair, with their toes just brushing the floor, or lounge all over the chair, or kneel on top of it or squat on their heels.
Adults correct them: “Sit up, sit properly, sit straight!”.
I wonder why it’s like that.
The king sits on the throne, the guests sit at table, music-lovers sit listening to a concert, the old lady settles into her easy chair, the poor sinner lies on a bench.
So is sitting perhaps a theatrical game?
And does it suffice to study a chair in order to understand the use it is intended for?
I am sorely tempted to disturb this game of chairs and sitting.
This could lead us to make chairs on which we sit any way we like, no matter how or why: With our arms on the legs, one arm around the back, relaxed and comfortable or straight upright. It could lead to making chairs which conceal their function until we sit on them. Will we sit down to eat? To play cards? Will we sit down even to quarrel?
Apart from being useful, a chair should always be valid in itself and, when placed side by side, a number of them should create a “landscape chair” that refuses to be merely functional.
Another thought. Today, steel tubes, foam rubber, springs, padding and linings have reached a state of technological progress that enables us to create forms that only a few years ago were unthinkable. Designers should use these resources to create objects previously imaginable only in the abstract.
Personally, I love designing chairs and objects that express the full potential of the time where we live in”
Verner Panton
Copenhagen, May 1980

Milan Triennale Design Museum – 15


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