Color was a central element in all of Verner Panton’s designs for interiors and furniture, and in particular, textiles, which became his most important vehicle for color in the futurist environments for which he is best known. Born in Denmark, Panton lived and worked most of his life in Basel, Switzerland, where by the mid-1950s he was an internationally acclaimed interior architect and designer. He studied at the Technical College from 1944-47 followed by architecture studies at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen from 1947-1951. He was greatly influenced by his mentor, Poul Henningsen, a Danish designer known for his iconic lighting design of the mid-20th century. Equally influential was Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, and between1950 and -52 Panton worked in his office. When he left Jacobsen’s office, he traveled throughout Europe introducing designs for chairs, lighting, and textiles to a number of companies and obtaining commissions mainly for Danish projects.
In 1968 Panton was commissioned by the paint and fiber manufacturer, Bayer, to design an environment at the Cologne Furniture Fair using synthetic fibers and materials. Intended as an annual series of exhibitions to take place on a boat, Panton advised Bayer to call it Visiona. For Visiona 0 in 1968, the futurist environment by Panton was referred to as the Dralon Boat, and included furniture, lighting, and textiles. Walls, ceiling, and floor were treated identically and as described by one writer, these environments were a “melding together of walls, floor and ceiling into a passageway of colorful folding formations.”
The Anatomical Designs, which included Lippen, were initially part of Visiona 0 (1968). Round rooms of various colors were bedecked with draperies and round floor carpets on which were printed large photo-realist representations of hands, feet, mouths, eyes and ears (the model for these body parts was his wife, Marianne). Later, the Swiss textile company, Mira-X, produced these designs under the name of Anatomic.
The Visiona series continued until the mid-1970s under Panton’s leadership and featured such illustrious designers as Joe Colombo. However, it soon featured only home textiles rather than presenting Panton’s idea of a model living environment, where every new technical innovation in the field of synthetic materials was put to use.