Wooden Panton by
Matthias Brandmaier

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Wooden Panton by Matthias Brandmaier

Design student Matthias Brandmaier spent three days in the woods carving a replica Verner Panton chair out of a tree trunk using a chainsaw.

Wooden Panton by Matthias Brandmaier

The chair, which weights 30 kilograms, is carved from a single piece of beechwood, but Brandmaier claims it is comfortable to sit on: "Most time was spent on carving the seat and the backrest to guarantee a comfortable chair," he says.

Wooden Panton by Matthias Brandmaier

Reproducing the form of the classic moulded-plastic Panton Chair in solid wood "seemed a stupid and very uneconomic idea at first," Brandmaier admits, but he did it in order to explore what would happen when a product is reproduced in a different material.

Wooden Panton by Matthias Brandmaier

"It was meant to be a unique piece of furniture and I planned in advance how to use the rest of the wood in other objects and sculptures," Brandmaier says, adding that the copyright of the original chair was not a concern to him. "The translation to the material wood is of course very opposite to the thin plastic shells of the 60s and required a very different structural form, from where a new chair evolved. Therefore I did not worry about the copyright."

Wooden Panton by Matthias Brandmaier

"As this approach seems pretty wasteful on the material, this method of production is of course only possible in a small scale manufacturing, where the redundant wood was used for other objects and sculptures," adds Brandmaier, who is a student of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. "The Wooden Panton is a single object, which explores the change of forms according to different materials."

The classic S-shaped Panton Chair, designed by Danish designer Verner Panton, went into production with Vitra in 1967. The chair, featuring a cantilevered seat and made from a single moulded component, has been made of various plastics over the years. It was originally made of fibreglass-reinforced polyester, then from polystyrene and later polyurethane. Today the chair is moulded in polypropylene.

Besides his architectural studies, Brandmaier produces unique pieces of furniture from found objects combined with wood, steel and concrete. See more of his work on his website: www.matthiasbrandmaier.de

See all our stories about chair design »

  • andonibgon
    • http://twitter.com/callumjwhite @callumjwhite

      So yea its a copied idea of a copied design executed slightly differently.

  • Kim

    Why are you even showing this – I see no point…

    • David

      Maybe because it challenges some prevailing ideas about what design is.

      • dromberg

        It obviously is the result of a different design idea (though not very original IMO).
        But where is the challenge?

        • David

          It challenges the normal way of designing something to be mass produced and turned into a marketable commodity – usually a luxury good. It challenges prevailing ideas about craft and intellectual property. Would you say “where’s the challenge?” about pieces by Robert Loughlin?

        • ZumthorFanatic

          The challenge is obviously how much you can tire yourself out using a chainsaw to sculpt things.

      • Robert

        It doesn't.

  • Nick

    So lucky him having three days to carve this out.

  • SebH

    Can’t believe an entire tree had to give it’s life for this. BTW the wooden ‘Panton’ would be the well-known ‘Zig Zag chair’.

  • amsam

    The “what’s the point” question is soo boooring. I wish Dezeen readers who can’t find a “point” in these sorts of experiments would have the good sense to stick their head in the fridge and ask the lettuce.

    What’s unfortunate here is that the Peter Jakubik version previously on Dezeen is so much better achieved – simplifying the shape to planes, using the log’s bark, getting the crucial front angle right (it’s NOT VERTICAL). The experiment is fine, but the first rule of experimentation is to look up who’s done it before and learn from their experience…

    • dromberg

      The question “what’s the point“ is probably the single most important question one can ask about a design. Obviously that means that the question is not used in a rhetorical way to merely state that there is no point.

      • amsam

        Dromberg, you’re right of course. But when someone is really looking to discern the point(s) of an experiment – even if they look hard and imaginatively and just can’t find one – that would express itself differently than the dismissive (and probably lazy) question “what’s the point?”

        (I can’t believe I’m going to bat for this piece that I don’t think is even successful.)

  • ZumthorFanatic

    @amsam

    The “what’s the point” question works in this case because really, what’s the freaking point of this experiment? There’s nothing remotely interesting about wasting your energy in using a chainsaw to make a chair replica. At all.

    • amsam

      You know Zumthor, your comment made me think about the statement: “There’s nothing remotely interesting about [fill the blank]. At all.”

      When you make that statement without offering any kind of supporting ideas, it becomes kind of like a mirror – or better yet, like a very bouncy ball that reflects off the object and strikes the speaker.