No one could ever accuse Verner Panton of having played it safe. The great Danish designer, whose S-shaped Panton Chair remains one of the more fluid profiles of the Mid-Century era, unabashedly harnessed the psychedelic colors and playful forms that defined the Pop Art-influenced visual culture of the 1960’s, and boldly incorporated them into his vividly dizzying spatial compositions.
One of Panton’s more notable interiors projects was for Spiegel Verlagshaus, the headquarters of the Spiegel publishing house in Hamburg, where, among other things, he created this unforgettable indoor swimming pool for the company’s (obviously indulged) employees.
An impossibly mesmerizing esthetic composition, the pool, anchored by a grid of bespoke Flower Pot-like ceiling lights and engulfed in a moody glow of reds, pinks and blues, may easily be mistaken for a piece of conceptual art rather than a functioning pool—its ebullience given a soulful twist by its brief, ephemeral life. While Panton’s Spiegel project remained largely intact until the company’s relocation to a new site in 2011, his brilliant pool installation was obliterated by a fire only a few years after its 1969 completion.