Panton studied at a technical school in Odense as an architectural engineer and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Copenhagen). Panton worked in Arne Jacobsen's architectural office from 1950-52. He started his own design studio in 1955. In 1958 his work as the architect of the Applied Art display at the Fredericia Furniture Fair. Shocking both attendees and artists, he displayed the furniture by hanging it from the ceiling of the stand.
The 1960 stacking "Panton" chair, the first to be produced from a single piece of molded plastic, brought Panton international recognition with its unexpected form. It was awarded an A.I.D. award in 1968. The shape of the chair, a single curve with no extraneous skeleton was designed to give a soft, rather than rigid, support and it was made is a range of bright colors.