…and so the excitement continues here on yellowtrace as today I have the huge pleasure of introducing you to our second regular contributor – Mr Luke Moloney! Woohoo! You may remember Luke from his previous visits with his super witty posts. 

Oh man, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited and honoured I feel to have Luke join the yellowtrace family. Apart from being a dear friend and a talented architect (yes, another one!), Luke is seriously one of the smartest people I know. He is also the funniest, exceptionally eloquent and knowledgeable beyond belief. Accepting this gig is slightly out of Luke’s comfort zone, but I know in my heart of hearts this is exactly what he needs to be doing – telling the world how it is. So let’s enjoy the time we have with Luke before he realises how awesome he actually is and moves on to bigger and better things!  x dana



A friend of mine once introduced me to her Danish paramour as ‘the one I was telling you about, the Scandinavian Design Whore’. She wasn’t far off the mark. There’s something about that spare Nordic coolness – clean lines, warm timber, and beautiful practicality that I adore, admire, and aspire to in my own work. My fantasy lounge room has Dinesen floors. I’ve seen ‘The Killing’ twice. I rate Ikea. I enjoy herring. You get the idea – I’m a fan.

And so we come to Verner Panton.

In the way that you can’t have the saints without also having the devil, and you can’t have the Bachs without also having Mahler, you can’t have Asplund without also having Panton. He rightly occupies a space within the ranks of brilliant twentieth century designers, and while he is necessarily lumped together with the Nordic crew, his genius is of an altogether different kind. Bringing up Panton in this context is, to me, like suddenly turning off a lovely Lyric Piece by Grieg and pumping up the volume on Robyn. And let’s face it – sometimes there’s nothing quite like great Scandinavian Pop.

Let’s dive in!


The dining room of Restaurant Varna, in the Varna Palace, Aarhus, kitted out by Panton in the early 1970s. A glimpse into what life must have been like for the little creatures who lived on the underside of the ball room in Ikea.


The entrance to Restaurant Varna. If the crew from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ had their own cruise ship, the innards would look a lot like this.


The foyer of Restaurant Varna. Ventricle chic.


Another of Restaurant Varna – less like a restaurant and more like a fluffy aquatic landscape of the imagination.


And the last we’ll share of Restaurant Varna. Sadly this interior no longer exists – I can only assume it fell victim to the vagaries of taste, and a glance at the website for the restaurant shows that it today presents a more mainstream Scandinavian interior – white walls and CH20s overlooking the birch trees. This later version is of the stuff I adore, but my goodness what an experience it must have been to turn up to the restaurant in the Panton days on a frosty winter’s night, and be guided by your waiter across the shag carpet, past the velvety pink curtains to a table under a cluster of big furry balls.

Things you just can’t say about Room 606 at the SAS…

Let’s look at another Panton interior, parts of which are still extant in Hamburg – the Spiegel Verlagshaus.


The waiting area. Sci fi movie set dressers could learn a lot from c1970s Danish-designed German publishing houses.


The canteen in its heyday. This interior survives so that if anyone needs to know what a design genius’ aneurysm looks like when it turns into a corporate eating area, they can find out. And have a pretzel at the same time.


Another of the canteen. Nuts. Love it.


And finally, the Spiegel Verlagshaus swimming pool. I’m a little in awe of this room, and it’s why despite myself I am a Panton fan – I can’t even begin to think about space in the way that he did. And Panton just ripped this one out, made it amazing, and added water!



[Images courtesy of Verner Panton.]

About The Author

Luke Moloney

Luke is an architect from Sydney who has travelled extensively throughout Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa. He has a deep appreciation of Scandinavian architecture and design, and a love of architectural history in general. He believes that the best design is beautiful and accessible, uncomplicated, and a pleasure. Luke buys far too many books, and in his spare time wonders if he has what it takes to be ‘Detail’ magazine’s first cover model.

9 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Great Dane

    Thanks Luke! Panton’s use of colour certainly evokes all sorts of feelings/mood. Love seeing the flower pots in these photos too!

  2. Avatar
    Vanessa E

    Always knew I loved Luke and colour, now I know I love Luke, colour and Panton interiors. Feeling inspired to colour in my drawings today.

  3. Avatar

    perfect! I dream of a night in room 606, but don’t think I could sleep.


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