The work of designer Poul Henningsen in the field of lighting is known to everyone. Everyone who appreciates beauty and functionality in everyday life seeks to acquire his legendary lamps. Laconic, very natural forms of lamps will make you fall in love with them and the unique harmony of lines.
Scandinavian designers create a spatial domain with a unique style. These masters are characterized by restraint and conciseness, they create feelings of emotional order. In this atmosphere, the inspiration that once touched the creator’s heart affects you too. This is precisely the nature of Paul Henningsen’s fixtures.
Poul Henningsen was born in 1894 in Ordrup, a small Danish town, in the family of a popular actress. In 1911, he began his studies at the Frederiksberg Technical College, and in 1915 he began to study architecture at the Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute. Paul Henningsen did not finish his studies: he was much more attracted to the path of the artist and inventor. In this direction, he will achieve world fame: decorative lamps will give him the glory of the most extraordinary personality of Denmark.
Poul Henningsen also worked in journalism. Deep knowledge of modern society and architecture allowed him to become the editor of the popular journal Critical Review. For Poul Henningsen, journalism became the “key to the consumer”: the designer knew and understood the consumer preferences in the field of lighting and brought them to life.
The goal is a comfortable light
The idea that Poul Henningsen implemented in his lamps is as follows: the lighting should be bright, but at the same time soft and not dazzling. Paul was familiar with contemporaries’ complaints of hard electric light, which, in contrast to the flickering of candles, exposed every wrinkle for display. Henningsen conducted experiments and achieved the desired: his lamps were different in that they gave uniform light.
Poul Henningsen carefully studied the structure of light and shadow, luster, and color reproduction. As a result, he came to an interesting conclusion: the required light will be provided by a system of several shades located at different levels, where the light from the source is reflected from several concentric reflectors. Thus, space illuminates the reflected light (plus scattered, if we are talking about frosted glass shades), but the brightness is not much affected since the inside of the lamps is white.
Poul Henningsen said that from the age of 18 he began to seek harmony in the world. His pH lamps (the name is derived from the initials of the author) is the embodiment of this harmony, even when they are turned off. Each lamp is a complete work of art. The technologies created by Poul Henningsen still live in the Louis Poulsen factory products – it was here where the creative life of the great designer began and ended.
Pride at Louis Poulsen
From 1925 until his death, Poul Henningsen created his masterpieces under the auspices of Louis Poulsen. Projects that have made the maestro famous all over the world: Artichoke, PH-50, Panthella, Snowball. Each of the fixtures paved the way for the subsequent, becoming a link in the chain of experiments and developments.
Septima preceded all of Henningsen’s creations. This first-born of the PH series is a suspension with seven glass shades. Some of them are partially sandblasted. The war and the lack of materials provoked by it prevented the release of the lamp, so in the post-war period the lamps came out literally one after another: Septima, Louvre, Artichoke, Snowball.
The first Artichoke was created from copper for the Copenhagen restaurant The Langelinie in 1958. The customer wanted to see bright and friendly lighting, creating the atmosphere of the holiday. In addition, it was assumed that the off lamp would be an interior decoration. The order was executed flawlessly – and in a year Artichoke will celebrate its 60th anniversary.
At one time, various versions of the famous Artichoke came out. So, in 2008, Artichoke made of glass was presented at the Light & Building exhibition in Frankfurt am Main. And on the 50th anniversary, a limited series of 50 Artichoke fixtures covered with 24-carat gold came out!
Lamps of the RN series are loved all over the world, they are decorated with chic mansions, and reception rooms of social services, and the offices of major companies.