Scandinavia Design

Poul Henningsen
Danish designer 🇩🇰

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Hans J. Wegner

Born in Ordrup, a small Danish town, Poul Henningsen trained as an architect at the Danish College of Technology in Copenhagen. Graduating in 1920, he designed various houses, a factory, part of Copenhagen's famous Tivoli gardens and two theater interiors. He was also a committed socialist, an outspoken critic and editor, with Kaare Klint, of the architectural magazine Kritisk Revy.

He became interested in light at the age of 18, especially the question of how to reproduce the soft light of the gas spouts of his childhood, when electricity was still a novelty.

Hans J. Wegner

Synonymous with wealth, it was not uncommon for light bulbs to hang unshaded from ceilings in homes and public spaces alike.

« When, in the evening, from the top of a tramway, you look at all the houses on the second floor, you are startled by the pitiful state of the dwellings. The furniture, the style, the carpets, everything in the house is unimportant compared to the position of the lighting. It doesn't cost money to light a room properly, but it does require culture. »

Poul Henningsen

Wishbone Chair, Hans Wegner

He realized that while electricity made it possible to "wallow in light", it did so at the expense of harmony and well-being, and improving the quality of electric light became his life's great quest.

He began experimenting with different lighting techniques, testing materials and taking a scientific approach, analyzing diffusions and angles of reflection. This period of research led to the development of the revolutionary PH multi-shade lamp system.

His first PH lamp won the Danish lighting competition in 1924 and the gold medal at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1925.

Wishbone Chair, Hans Wegner

In collaboration with publisher Louis Poulsen, Poul Henningsen quickly developed a whole range of PH lamps - pendant, table, wall and floor - based on the multi-shade system of the "Paris lamp". The success was immediate, and Louis Poulsen never stopped producing PH lamps, with slight modifications over the years.

The first PH lamps were fitted with glass shades, skilfully sized and positioned to diffuse the light in the best possible way, with the dual aim of not dazzling and not wasting light power, as is easy to do with a standard shade.

The "PH5" suspension lamp dates back to 1958, the number 5 referring to its 50 cm diameter. Available in many colors over the years, the PH5 is a classic that remains incredibly popular not only in Scandinavia, but all over the world. Designed to be suspended over a table, it is totally glare-free, whatever the wattage of the bulb used.

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The « PH Artichoke », designed in 1958 for the Langelinie Pavilion restaurant in Copenhagen, is another of Poul Henningsen's world-famous classics. Its 72 "leaves" spread over 12 circles are arranged in such a way that the light source cannot be seen from any angle.

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