Scandinavia Design

PH2/1 Pendant

Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

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Louis Poulsen, Danish Design Lighting
Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

The PH 2/1 Pendant is a member of the three-shade family which numbers 30 lights today, including three for outdoor use. Il consists of an approximately 20 cm top shade, but uses lower shades from the 1/1 model. These ‘hybrid’ models were introduced due to the desire to hang the pendants at lower heights.

The PH 2/1 is available in four versions: pendant, pendant Stem Fitting, table lamp and wall lamp.

Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen
Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

Dimensions Ø20 x 14 cm

Materials Shades: Mouth-blown white opal glass. Suspension: spun aluminium.

Mounting cable length 3 m + canopy

Weight 0.7 kg

Light source 1 x E14

Class Ingress protection IP20. Electric shock protection II w/o ground.

Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen
Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

PH2/1 – Chrome high gloss

PH2/1 – Metallic black

Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

PH2/1 – Metallic brass

Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen
Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

The PH 2/1 Pendant is a member of the three-shade family which numbers 30 lights today, including three for outdoor use. Poul Henningsen designed 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.

Suspension PH2/1 Louis Poulsen – Poul Henningsen

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 to light and use the logarithmic spiral as a basis. 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 through the glass, made it possible to control glare and shadow. 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. 

Poul Henningsen

Poul Henningsen

Born in Copenhagen, Poul Henningsen's mother was the famous Danish actress Agnes Henningsen. He never qualified as an architect, but studied at the Technical School in Frederiksberg (Denmark) from 1911 to 1914, and then at the Technical College in Copenhagen (1914-1917).

He started out practising traditional functionalist architecture, but over the years his professional interests evolved to focus mainly on lighting, which is what he is most famous for. He also branched out into writing, becoming a journalist and author. For a brief period at the start of the Second World War, he was chief architect of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. But like many other creative people, he was forced to flee Denmark during the German occupation, and soon became a vital part of the Danish colony of artists living in Sweden.

His long collaboration with Louis Poulsen began in 1925 and lasted until his death. To this day, Louis Poulsen still benefits from his genius. Poul Henningsen was also the first editor-in-chief of the business magazine "NYT". Louis Poulsen's CEO at the time, Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen, offered PH the magazine because he had been sacked from the Danish newspaper he was working for (his views were too radical).

Poul Henningsen's pioneering work on the relationship between light structures, shadows, glare and colour reproduction, compared with man's need for light, remains the foundation of the lighting theories still practised by Louis Poulsen.