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Poul Henningsen designed the three-shade system back in 1925-1926. The first lights using the system were designed for an exhibition in Paris. His work with Louis Poulsen 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 four-shade system was launched in 1931 to create a fixture which could be mounted high up and serve as an alternative to the commonly used chandeliers. The PH four-shade light was designed to increase the amount of light emitted horizontally to provide greater illumination of walls and shelves than was possible using standard three-shade lights. It was removed from the Louis Poulsen standard range in the 40s, but was redesigned in 1979 by two Danish architects – Sophus Frandsen and Ebbe Christensen – for the Charlottenborg exhibition building in Copenhagen, although in a larger size: PH 6½/6.
To resolve the never ending glare problem, the two architects decided to add a small blue shade to the design. They also added a new surface with a more matte, white painted shade, to achieve a more even, comfortable light – ideal for museums and exhibition rooms or as general lighting in rooms with high ceilings. A smaller version, the PH 5/4½, was created for the Aarhus Concert Hall in 1984.
PH 5-4½ Ø46.6 x H31.8 cm – light source 1 x E27
PH6½-6 Ø65 x H50 cm – light source 1 x LED 96W 2700K or 3000K, hard wired (DALI) or bluetooth
Materials spun aluminium shades
Cable 3 m
Weight 2.4 kg
Class Ingress protection IP20. Electric shock protection I w. ground
Poul Henningsen, born in Copenhagen, is the son of the famous Danish writer 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