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The Danish designer Poul Henningsen created the three-shade system back in 1925-1926. The first lights using the system were designed by Poul Henningsen in cooperation with Louis Poulsen for an exhibition in Paris. This partnership continued right up until his death in 1967. Throughout his life, Poul Henningsen sought to create glare-free light, direct light where it was most needed, and create soft shadows, using incandescent bulbs as a light source.
The PH 4½-3½ Glass Floor Lamp is a member of the three-shade family which numbers 30 lights today, including three for outdoor use. Thus Poul Henningsen did not just design a light, but an entire system – around a thousand different models have been produced over the years. This wide selection consisted of table, floor and wall lamps, as well as a number of different chandeliers, which were very popular in the 30s for lighting private homes from high ceilings.
There were countless combination options. The lights were available in different colours, as well as a range of sizes. The first shades were made of metal with a painted underside, such as white, gold or silver – depending on whether diffuse, warm or cold light was desired. Glass was later introduced for the three-shade system. In addition to the downward-directed light, glass lamps illuminated the room.
Poul Henningsen was the first person to pursue a scientific approach of the light and use the logarithmic spiral as a basis fo his creations. By using a design based on the logarithmic spiral he achieved even distribution of light over the entire curve of the shade. This even light distribution, together with the diffuse reflection of the light through the white opal glass, made it possible to control glare and shadows. Each shade reduces the amount of light equally, due to their distance from the light source.
The PH light model numbers refer to the shade size. Each top shade had a corresponding set of middle and lower shades. In the ‘pure’ models, such as the 2/2, the top shade has a size of about 20 cm, with corresponding lower shades. The PH 4½-3½ Glass Floor Lamp consists of an approximately 45 cm top shade, but uses lower shades from the 3½ model. These ‘hybrid’ models were introduced due to the desire to hang pendants at lower heights. The system was also used for floor, table and wall lamps. The PH 4½-3½ Glass Floor Lamp in its current form was introduced in 1990.
Dimensions Ø45 x H125 cm
Materials mouth-blown white opal glass – high lustre chrome plated, spun brass
Mounting cord with plug 3.3m – on/off switch on cord
Weight 14.1 kg
Light source 1 x E27
Class Ingress protection IP20. Electric shock protection II w/o ground.
Poul Henningsen was born in Copenhagen to the famous Danish actress Agnes Henningsen. He never graduated as an architect, but studied at The Technical School at Frederiksberg, Denmark from 1911-14, and then at Technical College in Copenhagen from 1914-17.
He started practicing traditional functionalistic architecture, but over the years his professional interests changed to focus mainly on lighting which is what he is most famous for. He also expanded his field of occupation into areas of writing, becoming a journalist and an author. For a short period at the beginning of WWII, he was the head architect of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. But like many other creative people, he was forced to flee Denmark during the German occupation but soon became a vital part of the Danish colony of artists living in Sweden.
His lifelong collaboration with Louis Poulsen Lighting began in 1925 and lasted until his death. To this day, Louis Poulsen Lighting still benefits from his genius. Poul Henningsen was also the first editor of the company magazine “NYT”. The CEO of Louis Poulsen at the time, Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen, gave the magazine to PH as a gift because he had been terminated from the Danish newspaper he worked for (his opinions were too radical).
Poul Henningsen's pioneering work concerning the relations between light structures, shadows, glare, and color reproduction—compared to man’s need for light remains the fondation of the lighting theories still practiced by Louis Poulsen Lighting