Classic Panton Chair

Danish designer Verner Panton is one of the group of designers who broke with the Scandinavian tradition of producing handcrafted teak wood furniture. He shares this distinction with Poul Kjaerholm and Arne Jacobsen, in whose architecture studio he worked from 1950-2. As early as 1949-50, Panton began drafting chairs with no rear legs during his studies at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. In 1955 a chair emerged that was made of molded laminated wood and featured one unbroken S-curve; it was part of an entire furniture line. However, Panton was fascinated by the opportunities opened up by the new plastics, which, due to their lack of structure, do not limit the designer to any particular forms, and engender inexpensive products. This new formal freedom caused him to reconsider the theme “chair,” and he again returned to the S-chair and modified it. The crucial feature was the curved lower part, which rendered the base of the S-chair superfluous and afforded the desired leg room. At the end of the fifties, together with Dansk Acrylic Teknik, he developed the prototype for the “Panton-Chair” in plastic and exhibited it at the Mobilia-Club on Eriksholm, near Helsingör, in the hope of finding a suitable manufacturer with whom he could realize his idea. He found none and the cantilever-base plastic chair initially remained a dream. Panton returned again to working with laminated wood. In 1962-3 he paid a visit to Vitra. Only after making contact with the owners Willi and Rolf Fehlbaum, who manufactured Herman Miller products under license, did years of experimentation finally yield the first fiberglass-reinforced polyester prototypes in 1967. However, the desire to make the “Panton-Chair” stackable once again delayed production, as the thickness of the material had to be reduced without forfeiting stability. 

The final version went into serial production in 1968 at Vitra under the label of the Herman Miller Furniture Co. It was made of Baydur, an HR polyurethane foam produced by the Bayer Leverkusen company, and was varnished in seven colors. The “Panton-Chair” was thus the first product developed jointly by Vitra and Bayer Leverkusen to be included in the Herman Miller collection. It quickly won fame and became a Pop Art icon. In 1970 Vitra replaced the costly production technology, which required thirty minutes to produce one piece, with Thermoplast injection molding. Using a dyed granulate Luran-S made by BASF, the edge profiles had to be strengthened and reinforcing ribs placed underneath the seat. In the long run, however, the material did not adequately withstand dynamic stress; Vitra discontinued production in 1979 and the license was returned to Verner Panton. Starting in 1983, Horn GmbH & Co. KG in Rudersberg began making the chair using HR foam again, and sold it until the end of the eighties through the WK association. Since 1990 Vitra has been producing the “Panton-Chair” using HR foam. The colorful history of the first serially produced cantilever-base chair made of one single piece of plastic includes numerous quarrels as to the true designer. Because Panton had unsuccessfully sought a manufacturer for quite some time, he had already made his ideas available to a limited audience despite the fact that mass production did not seem imminent. When the “Panton- Chair” finally went into serial production, many other designers claimed they had also pursued this idea, although without taking steps to publicize it, have it serially produced, or obtain a patent.

Sori Yanagi Butterfly Stool

Rare vintage deadstock find; in mint condition! Very rare original Butterfly Stool made by Tendo in Japan. Mint deadstock; the Sori Yanagi Butterfly Stook remains unopened in the original box from Tendo. Tendo has been the original manufacturer since 1954. Tendo was selected by Sori Yanagi himself because of their quality craftsmanship and experience with the traditional craft of Japanese furniture. We were extremely lucky to be able to find a very limited number of these Butterfly Stools from an avid collector couple (husband and wife) who purchased them in Japan many years ago. The chairs were stored in a climate-controlled warehouse ever since they were purchased and were never used. The Butterfly Stool is in mint condition with only some very minor pitting of the metal as pictured because of its age (which only adds to its appeal we find). The outer cardboard Tendo box shows some signs of age. The ship fully assembled (unlike the Vitra edition). Please note: images are from a Butterfly we took out of the box and will keep for ourselves.  Your Butterfly will ship factory sealed in the original box from Tendo!

Butterfly Stool

Image Credit by SchappacherWhite Ltd. Architects & Designers

Kay Bojesen Puffin Bird

This beautiful Kay Bojesen's "forgotten" Puffin Bird design (sea parrrot) was introduced in 1954 and re-introduced in 2013.  Unlike most other animals in the Kay Bojesen figures, The Puffin has a black and white painted body with a beak decorated in blue, red and yellow stripes. Full of character and humor, Kay Bojesen's bright-billed wooden bird can change his expression with a simple tilt of his head. You would think that such a colorful, exotic-looking bird would come from some distant tropical climate. But nothing could be further from the truth. The peculiar puffin with its colorful bill, like Kay Bojesen himself, is a product of the cold North. The puffin lives in large colonies in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and once in a while, some take a little detour to Denmark. Perhaps even to Kay Bojesen's garden, where the charming bird with the kindly and naive eyes would have received a warm welcome from the designer with the playful imagination and amazing skills for bringing wood to life.  Let's take Puffin on a trip!

Puffin looking for a mate in the Spring

Puffin and friend cuddling up in the Winter

Puffin becomes part of Henri Rousseau's The Dream

Puffin hits the town

 Kay Bojesen devised this beautiful little Puffin animal in collaboration with the great theater artist, Svend Rasmussen, who was famous for his naive brush and color and who painted Kay Bojesen's wooden figures in his garage shop in Broad Street.

The Future Sound of New York

High Life

A unique architectural vision comes to life in a turn-of-the-century New York City skyscraper.
Architect David Hotson presents Skyhouse

A House in the Sky

Skyhouse is a house in the sky, a residential penthouse located at the summit of one of the earliest surviving skyscrapers in New York City.

The four story penthouse structure, which had never been used as a residence, was designed in 1896 as an archetypal hip-roofed house form situated twenty-one stories above the street. In the intervening decades this penthouse has been gradually surrounded by the astonishing vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan. From the private elevator vestibule, lit by a skylight which frames the apex of the adjacent skyscraper sixty stories above, the ramped entrance hall passes through the facetted shaft of the stairwell.

The original riveted steel structure –among the very earliest steel frames used in skyscraper construction in New York City- threads through the stairwell, slipping past the seamless glass bridge to reach the glass floor of the attic four stories above the entrance level.

In the main living space the original steel frame was reconfigured to allow the space to ascend to the underside of the hipped penthouse roof four stories above. The 50-foot-tall living space tapers upward past a mid-level balcony suspended in the steel framework, to an inclined glass wall which encloses one end of the at the attic level –and provides a vertiginous view down to the main level four stories below.

At the other end of the attic, a circular hole cut into a similar outward sloping glass partition provides the entrance to the slide. The mirror polished tubular stainless steel slide provides for a quick descent –sweeping over a bedroom, out through a window, and over the stair, before coiling down through the library ceiling to arrive at the flared rectangular exit opposite the penthouse entrance.

All of the spaces of this residence exploit its situation above the Manhattan cityscape with vistas channeled through all four levels of the penthouse structure at a range of scale to capture framed views of iconic structures in the surrounding three-dimensional cityscape. While the true nature of these spaces can only be revealed to a visitor encountering them in the experienced present, the images re-presented here provide a glimpse of the experience of this house in the sky above the city of New York.

Grand Entry

The private elevator landing opens into a tall vestibule, tapering upward to a seamless rectangular oculus which provides a view of the sculpted summit of the adjacent skyscraper. From the elevator vestibule, the floor slopes gently upward, passing under the twisting shaft of the stairwell to arrive at the main level of the penthouse. The stairwell shaft ascends through the full height of the penthouse, visually linking the entry hall with the structural glass floor of the attic four stories above. The stair itself wraps around the stairwell. The facetted surfaces of the stairwell converge on apertures, trimmed in mirror polished stainless steel, which provide views into and through the stairwell from the surrounding spaces. At the third level a structural glass bridge traverses the stairwell shaft passing through stainless-trimmed openings at either end. The original riveted steel structure –clad in intumescent paint- threads through the faceted stairwell slipping through apertures into adjacent rooms.

The Tubular Slide Feature

The entrance to a tubular slide, constructed from mirror-polished stainless steel, emerges through a circular hole cut in the seamless sloping glass partition at the south end of the Attic.

The cylindrical helical slide flares to an ellipse which is sectioned on the angle of the inclined glass wall resulting in a circular opening where the slide emerges through the glass. This circular opening creates an illusion of flatness contradicted by the sideways path of the slide as it begins its descent. ​Visitors are invited to select a yellow cashmere blanket from the pile beside the entrance to speed their trip to the bottom... The first leg of the slide passes through the attic glass, coils around the column and over the double-height guest bedroom, then slips through a second seamless glass window and out over the stair. Windows in the slide admit natural light from the dormer windows and provide a fleeting vistas through the entire length of the penthouse. To compete with the drama of the slide as it sweeps through the space and out the window to the stair, interior designer Ghislaine Vinas installed a startling mural, inspired by Michael Jackson's Neverland, in the only vertical wall in the room. The saturated colors of the mural are fractured in the mirror polished facets of the slide, scatting patterns of color along the inner surface of the slide. At the bedroom entrance a landing provides an opportunity to make a local stop at the third level or to re-enter the slide to continue down to the entrance level. ​The lower slide coils down through the ceiling and into the Library on the main level, suspended from a single point within the floor structure above. As it reaches the end, the helical slide tube flares out to create a distorted rectangular mirror which forms the wall of the Library and deposits the intrepid visitor back in the Entrance Gallery at the foot of the staircase.

During Construction