Copy or Original?
The classic 1959 version is still produced according to designer Verner Pantons original vision; every chair from one casting. The 1999 model is an affordable, mass market model based on Verner Pantons original design
Which of course raises the question: Which stool is the original? Both, only the Panton Chair “Classic” or neither?
The one or the other of you would almost certainly argue that only „historic” examples that originate from the first production and the designers own hands are truly original; being as they are the product of the first flush of creative inspiration and – on account of the intervening years – rare.
If one follows the argument of Vitra Chef Rolf Fehlbaum in his article „The Original“ then in respect of design (as opposed to art) the term „Original“ doesn’t relate to the moment of production; rather, the “authenticity” of the product. In terms of the Panton Chair: Has the Panton Chair been produced in the spirit of Verner Panton? And legally: Have the producers the rights from Verner Panton to produce the Panton Chair?
That Vitra, producer of the Panton Chair, from the very first design phase discussed and experimented with Verner Panton over the realization and improvements to the model, one can easily speak from an “idea relationship” between Panton and Vitra. But also legally, Verner Panton authorized production of both the value model and the classic Vitra alone.
And so with designer furniture it is not relevant if an individual piece originates from the initial production phase in order to be classed as an „original“. Nor does the price play a role. And so in terms of the Panton Chair both the Classic and the modern version are original.