The ‘Fun’ Series of Verner Panton

The ‘Fun’ Series of Verner Panton

If you’re a Mid-Century Modern buff, or follow iconic designers, then visionary designer Verner Panton will be a well-known name to you. I bet you’re familiar with his famous Panton chair from 1967. And that’s just one of his many cutting edge chair designs.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. No, instead I decided that with all the DIY faux capiz shell chandeliers out there, mine included from the Winter Pinterest Challenge, it was time to mention the originator of its influence, Verner Panton and his ‘Fun Lamp’ series.

In this photo you see Panton textiles on the wall and floor, Panton chairs, and the 4DM chandelier from the ‘Fun Lamp’ series.

Source: Yatzer via Mid2Mod Blog

The first prototype in the fun lamp series was designed in 1964, but did you know it was actually made with silver foil discs? And the discs were all cut out by hand by Panton’s wife, Marianne (I can relate to that with my own project!)

Panton approached lighting manufacturer J. Lüber AG in Switzerland with his prototype, and it was well received… except for the foil discs. So the foil discs were traded out for metal ones, aluminum to be specific, but… this was just a phase of the design.

Source: VerPan

Panton was inspired to work with raw materials. As VerPan puts it, the impetus for the next phase of the work was classic Panton inspiration:

Have: design
Wanted: raw materials

Since large sea shells coated on the inside with mother-of-pearl were plentiful by the millions in the Tropics, Panton was on his way. The only caveat being ‘if’ the shells could be sold in Europe.

And that’s when mother-of-pearl shells were introduced, and the ‘Fun’ shell series was born.

Source: Retro Modern Design

You’ll notice Panton’s ‘Fun’ shell series are referred to as mother-of-pearl rather than capiz shell, and that’s because he got his shells from various developing countries in the Tropics. Capiz shells come from, and are specifically named after the Province of Capiz in the Philippines.

This is a close-up of an actual Capiz shell.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Though the aluminum disc Fun lamps went into production, Panton was especially drawn to the warmth and the glow of the light that shone through the shells, and the more delicate sound they made in the breeze. This affection seems evident in how he expanded the Fun shell series compared to the metal series.

Here’s a look Panton’s ‘Fun’ series: A for aluminum, M for mother-of-pearl, and T for table lamp… I never could figure out for sure what the D stands for. Do you know? I guessed ‘disc’, but it’s not consistently used if that’s the case. Hmmm…

Here’s a look at Panton’s Fun Metal collection.

Source: Corporate Culture

This is the Fun Mother-of-Pearl collection, and the most common design.

Source: Corporate Culture

And this is the Fun Mother-of-Pearl collection, stunningly designed.

Source: Corporate Culture

 Aren’t they just incredible?

And for a little perspective…

Source: New Spirit Square 1 Blog

Here’s a modified version of the Panton 5DM chandelier. See the shells in the middle? That’s what’s different along with the way the top of the fixture is put together and mounts to the ceiling.

I can see why Panton was drawn to the warm glow of the light through the shells.

In 1998 Panton was invited to design the Verner Panton: Light and Colour Exhibition in Denmark…

Verner Panton (1926-1998)

Source: Vitra

And this proved to be his last design project.

Sadly Verner Panton died 12 days before it opened… a visionary designer leaving an incredible mark on our world.

When I read about design greats like Verner Panton, it makes me pause and reflect on all that has been brought to us. It’s so easy to embrace a DIY project like the faux capiz chandelier, but sometimes it’s worth learning about the roots, too. That’s where the stories begin…

I hope you have a great weekend!


8 thoughts on “The ‘Fun’ Series of Verner Panton”

  • Thanks for sharing all these lovely lamps and info! I just LOVE this design, and who knew you could get it with silver discs? Very cool post Sheila-have a great a weekend! Going to be a gorgeous one!

  • How interesting! I had no idea where the capiz chandelier originated from – you’re so good at providing the roots of some of the modern design trends that we love. Hope you’re having a good weekend! It’s back to “normal” spring weather here – cooler and rainy – the way it should be 😉

  • Hi Sheila,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog on Verner Panton – thank you for spreading the word! 🙂
    Yes, “D” is for disc and as a little added bonus I can tell you that the bug Fun 8DM that we make consist of 6,500 discs and more than 55,000 small stainless steel rings.
    If you ever need anymore info on any of the Verner Panton pieces – be it ligthing or furniture – please just let me know and I’ll be happy to help!

    • Hi Kim!
      Wow, thank you so much for your comment. What a nice surprise… And big thanks for the additional background information. I always find it so fascinating to learn all the little details, and those seem to be the hardest to trace, at least to trace with accuracy. I really appreciate your comment, and will definitely connect with you on any future posts featuring Verner Panton’s work!
      Thanks again!!!

  • Hello and I am looking for some help as I have what I believe to be some very old lamps made of this same material from when my father was over seas some 40+ years ago and didn’t know how I could find out the value if any?

    If you need additional images to see exactly I’ll gladly email them over?

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response!

    Have a super stoked day,

    Nathan Adams

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