Herman Miller S chair or Panton chair. Produced by Fehlbaum dated June 1971. In good condition with normal wear. SOLD
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 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 met Willi Fehlbaum
from the furniture manufacturer Vitra
who, unlike many other producers, was fascinated with the drawings of his legless chair in plastic rather than wood, the favoured material of the times. Working closely with Fehlbaum, Panton 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.
In 1968, Vitra initiated serial production of the final version which was sold by the Herman Miller Furniture Company
. The material used was Baydur, a high-resilience polyurethane foam produced by Bayer
, Germany. It was varnished in seven colors.
In 1979, however, production was halted as it became apparent that polystyrene (reference required, as in the previous section polyurethane was mentioned as the material from 1968 to 1979) was not sufficiently durable and began to look shabby over time. Four years later, the model was again produced as the Panton Chair Classic, this time in the rather more expensive polyurethane
structural foam. Finally, in 1999, Vitra used polypropylene
for manufacturing the Panton Plastic Chair in a variety of colours.