The Panton Chair (Danish: Pantonstolen) is an S-shaped chair created by the Danish designer Verner Panton in the 1960s. The world’s first moulded plastic chair, it is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Danish design. The chair was included in the 2006 Danish Culture Canon.
The idea of designing a stackable plastic chair was first expressed by the German architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe before the Second World War. From the early 1950s, Panton too had dreamt of making a stackable, cantilevered plastic chair all in one piece. It is said he had been inspired in particular by a neatly stacked pile of plastic buckets. In 1956, he designed the S Chair which can be considered a forerunner of the Panton Chair. He saw it as an item of furniture in which the back, seat and legs were made of the same material and in one continuous piece. It was first produced in 1965.
Panton made a series of sketches and design drawings for the Panton Chair in the 1950s. In 1960, he created his first model, a plaster-cast, in collaboration with Dansk Akrylteknik. In the mid-1960s, he produced a cold-pressed model using polyester strengthened with fibreglass. For the first time, an entire chair had been designed in one piece, without any legs. It became known as a free-swinger. The first rather heavy model, which required substantial finishing work, was subsequently improved and adapted to industrial production using thermoplastic polystyrene which led to a marked reduction in cost.