Verner Panton's Visiona 1970

Verner Panton’s avant-garde, neon fever dream comes alive at a new exhibit.

 

It’s been described as a living sculpture and a testament to avant-garde living. But the Visiona room concepts designed by Verner Panton look like a neon fever dream, a psychedelic riot of colors and shapes that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Kubrick film. A full-scale reproduction, open to the public through June 1 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, offers a rare chance to experience the interior designer’s complete vision. Displayed in 1968 to 1972 as part of a exhibiton Bayer sponsored at the Cologne Furniture Fair, the Visiona interiors, constructed in an excursion boat, utilized artificial fibers to create a statement about the future. Panton's 1970 display features undulating curves which create a design run-on where rooms continually blend into each other. The intense color palette and audio atmospherics pumped into different sections—including samples of a nightingale, an owl, bees, and waves—heightened the sensory experience in this fantasy landscape (called a “living cave”).

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