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Poul Henningsen

*1894 †1967

Poul Henningsen – Danish design icon and creator of an cult light

Poul Henningsen was one of the most important representatives of functionalism. He was born in Ordrup, Denmark, in 1864 as son of the Danish actress Agnes Henningsen and grew up in the cosy light of kerosene lamps. During World War I he started to study architecture at the Copenhagen College of Technology. However, the notorious lateral thinker was too preoccupied with political discussions to complete his studies. He rather published the magazine "Kritisk Revy", made cabaret performances and even made a name for himself as a caricaturist. When Poul Henningsen died in 1967, he was considered as one of the leading designers and cultural critics in Denmark.

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The success of electrical lighting in the 1920s in the form of the incandescent lamp irritated Poul Henningsen who was used to the soft kerosene light. Only five years later, in 1925, he designed his first PH for Louis Poulsen: a pendant light with characteristically segmented shades that surround the illuminant and thus provide for a charming look as well as for perfectly glare-free, soft light. This light with the charming nickname "The Artichoke" is manufactured from mostly impure, milky to coloured glass with matt frosted surfaces. The pleasant light of the incandescent lamp is refracted on the glass lampshade of the light fixture and then softly and harmoniously illuminates the surrounding area.
 

The evolution of a light

Later, Poul Henningsen decided to replace glass by metal lacquered in various colours when creating his lights. Moreover, he increased the number of screens so that his piece more and more reminded us of an artichoke and was finally even given this charming nickname. Thus, a logarithmic spiral is formed whose focal point houses the lamp and the brilliant light typical for the PH 5 light is created: the shades direct the coloured light upwards and to the sides, while a pure white light is emitted downwards – ideally suited for a zoned lighting of the dining table, on which the food and drinks are effectively highlighted. The huge success of the PH pendant light inspired Poul Henningsen to design further versions for Louis Poulsen – a large PH family was developed.

By now, this family is led by the Louis Poulsen PH 5 Contemporary, a special edition with contemporary colours such as Army-green or pink. The PH 50 pendant light is also a special edition, a new edition launched on the occasion of the 50th birthday of this iconic light which is available in trendy colours like Coconut White, Wasabi Green or Chilli Red.
If you would rather place this legendary light by Poul Henningsen next to your armchair or your sofa, you should consider purchasing a floor lamp, for instance, the PH 3 ½ - 2 ½. Furthermore, the PH 2/1 table lamp is recommended for creating an atmospheric illumination on the sideboard or a commode. And everyone who wants to have the ultimate version of a PH light will not get past the PH Artichoke equipped with steel arches and copper "leaves".
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