Object of Affection: Panthella Lamp Mini

By Ingrid Fetell Lee
First, before diving in, a quick note to email subscribers…

I know the email version of Wednesday’s post was pretty wonky for some of you. So sorry about that. We have figured out the problem and it shouldn’t happen again. Thanks for your patience and if you have any issues or feedback, please reach out!

And now on to this week’s Object of Affection!

three Panthella lamps in yellow, purple, and green

Like a chic, shiny little mushroom, the Panthella lamp typifies designer Verner Panton’s curvy, playful aesthetic. Now, it’s being revived by manufacturer Louis Poulsen in eight bright colors.

I love when a redesign honors the spirit of the original, and in this case, what Poulsen has done is quite neat. In 1971 when the lamp was first launched, Panton had wanted the lamp to be made of metal, but it was not technically possible at the time. Using present-day technology, Poulsen brought Panton’s original vision to life. The colors for the new version also come from Panton himself. Poulson pulled them from the last project Panton worked on before his death in 1998, an exhibit of his work called ‘Lyset og Farven’ (‘Light and Colour’) in Denmark that showcased his vast body of work in a suite of colorful rooms.

Panthella lamp in purple in context

Panton chair and black and white photo of Verner Panton

It’s easy to look at Verner Panton’s work now and see just another nice piece of round, sixties-style design. But Panton was on the avant-garde of this movement, working with plastic, metal, and fiberglass to create organic forms as early as the 1950s, while most of his contemporaries were still in the thrall of modernism’s rigid geometries. Panton broke out of these boxes, quite literally, and created a joyful feeling of flow. Later, Panton moved from furniture into creating whole rooms. (A good place to see these is here, at the online Verner Panton museum.) Describing it as interior design doesn’t quite capture it, at least in the way we think of interiors as some wall coverings, furniture, lighting, and rugs. Panton looked at rooms as a kind of inhabitable sculpture. They’re psychedelic happy places, all plush surfaces and curves and colored light — the kinds of places that make you feel like you might be tripping on mushrooms without ever having to eat any.

Without meaning to, I’ve come full circle, back to the mushroom-like form of the Panthella lamp. The new version is available now, giving you just enough time to choose a color before you pop it onto your Christmas list!

Objects of Affection is a series that spotlights iconic, unique, or otherwise joyful things. You can see the full series here.
All images courtesy of Louis Poulsen, except the Panton Chair (credit: Holger Ellgard)
October 21st, 2016

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