Be My Valentine: I Heart Panton’s Heart Cone Chair

I’m assuming that this mid-century classic was assigned to me in honor of Valentine’s Day. While I don’t celebrate the holiday, I do celebrate this chair and its creator. Designed in 1959 by Denmark’s Verner Panton, Heart Cone Chair began as a variant of the slightly more demure Cone Chair of 1958. The metamorphosis went from the fantastical to the fanciful: Cone Chair looks like an ice cream delicacy and Heart Cone Chair like a box of chocolates. Whoever would have thought I’d grow so fond of sweets and hearts?

Heart Cone Chair. Designed by Verner Panton.

Panton once worked as an assistant for Arne Jacobsen—note Heart Cone’s nod to the sensuous Egg Chair. Although it has lovely contours, don’t oversimplify Panton’s Heart Cone Chair. It’s meant to play with lots of iconic shapes, not just the bloody organ: “Heart Cone Chair has large, projecting wings reminiscent of Mickey Mouse ears that could also, however, be interpreted as a contemporary take on the classic wing chair.” Constructed of durable materials—laminated body, stainless base, polyurethane foam upholstery—Heart Cone Chair doesn’t compromise durability for style. And given the delicious color choices, this Panton gem is easy to swallow. Of course, there’s the red, but also golden yellow, rust, and chocolate in warm tones; and blue, green, and steel in the cool range.


Heart Cone Chair. Designed by Verner Panton.


Heart Cone Chair and Cone Chair. Designed by Verner Panton.


Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne by Steven Guarnaccia. Egg Chair. Designed by Arne Jacobsen.


Vitra Design Museum.

You can still get your Heart Cone Chair through Swiss company Vitra, which began smack in the middle of last century in 1950. Vitra is as forward-looking as the designers they’ve hired and whom they continue to showcase. Their Vitra Design Museum houses a remarkable collection that includes classic chairs and miniatures. The tiny versions of Eames and Arad standards could fill a dollhouse designed by Hadid—if Hadid designed dollhouses (she doesn’t, but she did design the Vitra Fire Station, which is small though not miniature). As a side note, Vitra Design Museum’s Lilliputian endeavor reminds me of a fabulously hip retelling of one space- and scale-centered fairy tale: Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne by Steven Guarnaccia (one of the bears has Jacobsen's Egg Chair). Should you want to visit the Vitra Design Museum, which “offers a perspective about what design can be in the contemporary world,” then you’ll need to go to Weil am Rhein, a German town that’s a suburb of Basel, Switzerland (and also close to France).

Posted February 8, 2010 by Alicita Rodriguez

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