It can no longer be ascertained precisely when the idea started to take shape in the mind of Verner Panton for the design that became directly associated with his name.
According to his own rather vague accounts and the few undated sketches that are preserved, it must have been around 1959/60 when he first began to work more intently on the idea of a cantilevered plastic chair made in one piece - hardly anticipating that it would take almost a decade to realize this idea.
When the Panton Chair - the first product developed independently by Vitra - finally arrived on the market in 1967, it had an unusually long and difficult development process behind it, a process that was only temporarily completed upon its commercial introduction.
Within the next few years, the chair underwent several changes in material and manufacturing technology, while also evolving into a symbol of its era and an icon of furniture design.
It all began in the 1960s, when Verner Panton came to Vitra to show Willi and Rolf Fehlbaum a deep-drawn prototype of a chair made out of plastic.
They were fascinated by the idea and wanted to pursue serial production of the chair.
It finally reached the manufacturing stage in 1967.
The first models were made out of fibreglass reinforced polyester, followed by a version in rigid polyurethane foam (Baydur) and another in injection-moulded Luran S (ASA).