Traditionally, furniture has been made of wood by assembling a number of different components with mortice-and-tenon joints. Plastics have provided an opportunity to rethink the design and manufacture of furniture. For example, in 1969 Verner Panton said of chair design ‘I try to forget about existing examples … and concern myself above all with the material. The result then rarely has four legs, not because I do not wish to make such a chair, but because the processing of new materials like… polyester calls for new shapes.’ Form, May 1969
Working with Vitra technicians, he set out to make a one-piece plastic cantilevered chair in a single process that was affordable by all. However, this approach, inspired by the apparent potential of the material was not immediately achievable. He began working on the idea in the 1950s but it was not put into serial production until 1967. Even then its colour was applied in a separate process and thus it was expensive. Since then it has undergone several production phases but only since its launch in integrally coloured moulded polypropylene (1) in 1999 has it been possible to produce it at a price accessible to all. The chair has remained in production at Vitra since 1999 and this example dates from 2007.
Single mould one-piece plastic furniture is now common as for example in the ubiquitous white and green plastic garden chairs on sale at every garden centre.