Who is he? The 'enfant terrible' of Danish design, Verner Panton (1926-1998) created a futuristic, colour-fuelled world that defined 1960s and 70s pop culture. Refusing to stick with the traditional, Panton believed designers had a responsibility to take ideas to the edge. He experimented with material and manufacturing innovations, using colourful plastics, fibreglass, Perspex, steel wire and foam rubber to create futuristic, neo-organic forms. How did he start out? He went to Odense Technical School from 1944 to 1947 and then studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1951. Initially he worked in fellow Dane Arne Jacobsen's architectural practice, but rumour had it he was not one of the best workers because he was preoccupied with his own designs. To broaden his artistic horizons, Panton travelled through Europe in a Volks-wagen bus out-fitted as a studio, learning all he could about furniture design and manufacturing trends. He set up his own design studio in 1955 and from 1963 lived in Basel, Switzerland, with his wife Marianne, daughter Carin and dog Happy. What is he most famous for? Honing in on post-war technologies he created the first single-form injection-moulded plastic chair - the Panton (left) - in 1960. The stackable, cantilevered chair with a single curve has a soft, rather than rigid support and comes in a range of bright colours. Its sinuous shape made it a 1960s icon; it is still manufactured today by Vitra. What was his design philosophy? Visionary, imaginative, bold, provocative: all terms used to describe Panton's work. He said: 'The main purpose of my work is to provoke people to use their own imagination.' He wanted his chairs to be more than just functional. Panton achieved cult status in his lifetime. For him, it was better to have a go and fail than accept mediocrity. 'A less successful experiment is preferable to a beautiful platitude,' he said. What else did he create? Innovative furniture, lighting, textiles and objects galore. He created the Cone chair and the Heart chair (1958), both made of upholstered bent sheet metal, the floating Flying chair (1963) and the multifunctional Phantom chair (1998), his last creation. Lighting (produced by Louis Poulsen) included his Fun series of shell lamps (1964), his pendant Flower Pot lamps (1968) and walls filled with lighting panels and futuristic UFO-style hanging lights (left). Then there was his famous fantasy landscape, Visiona II (1970), a sensual foam-rubber room of womb-like organic shapes designed for the 1970 Cologne furniture fair. Who buys his stuff? Panton's work became fashionably hip again before his death. (He died suddenly aged 72 while putting the finishing touches to an exhibition of his work.) Fans include retro-design addicts and lovers of late-20th-century furniture. Where can we see/buy his work? Panton's furniture, lighting and textiles are widely available. In Hong Kong, the Panton chair ($1,999), Phantom chair ($3,699), pendant Flower Pot lamp ($1,899) and a range of textiles are all available at Aluminium (Shop 1B, Capitol Plaza, 2 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2546 5904; www.hk-aluminium.com ). His work can also be seen in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Vitra Design Museum in Weil, Germany. For a comprehensive review of the designer's collections, visit www.vernerpanton.com .