Remember Verner Panton's namesake chair, the Panton chair? Well, let's all clap because this piece of beautiful Danish design turned 50 today! Squee!
That article about the Panton Chair brought me back onto one of my favourite sites - Vitra. Oh, Vitra. You sexy site. For those who are new to it, Vitra is one of the biggest furniture distributors in Europe. No, no, they're not like Ikea. Designers make quality designs for Vitra, and Vitra then manufacture them and distribute them to shops around Europe. And no, they're not like Alessi. Alessi is a team of 15-ish designers working under a specific design ethic. Vitra manufactures designs from loads of different designers, and in several different styles (though it's all modern, mind).
OK, onto Vitra's site. I absolutely love their site. Really, really love it. Whilst it can be bland at times, and quite hard to find your way around if you're looking for something in particular - and near-impossible if you're looking for prices - it's otherwise very sleek. The homepage has three frames which you can 'shuffle' like a casino machine thingy. Neat animations, and as you can see in this example, sometimes two frames can be one picture, but each frame about a different product.
Then, at the bottom of most pages, there's these two sections (see this page). One showing you your path through the website so far, and another one suggestion possible places to go. It certainly helps you navigate the site, though there's still the problem of why you'd go on the site; there are no prices. So would you use the site simply for research into furniture design? The blog-like site Vitra Magazine helps with this, but it still makes the site itself quite mundane.
The other problem with the site is to do with product lines, and divisions between them. There are whole pages of single pieces of furniture like the Panton Chair, but in other places when you click on a picture of a chair, the page is about a whole range of furniture (eg. Joyn). This makes it much harder to find that chair you saw in the picture.
The wishlist feature makes up for this. Kinda. Because what's more frustrating than adding your favourite furniture to a wishlist, knowing when you find the prices they'll be totally out of your range?
Total JOHNscore: 7/10. Would be 6, but Vitra own the Panton chair and most famous Eames chairs too. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
ps. I love Vitra. Good products.
pps. I am now realising the problems with following @4chan on Twitter: loads of links to mundane imageboards about subjects that are similarly mundane. Where's the links to /b/?