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Poul Henningsen

Poul Henningsen (1894-1967) was an architecture student at the Danish College of Technology in Copenhagen from 1911-17, though he never finished his studies here. This however did not change the fact that Poul Henningsen came to be the most important and recognized lighting designer we have had in Denmark. As well as designing fantastic lamps, Poul Henningsen was also a bit of a provocateur and involved himself in social debate. In addition Poul Henningsen was an author, critic and architect. Poul Henningsen has designed some items of furniture but is best known for his lamps.

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Poul Henningsen was a master of light. Poul Henningsen grew up at the beginnings of the age of electricity, where a bulb suspended in the ceiling and the darkness of the Victorian era prevailed. Poul Henningsen dedicated his life to understanding, investigating and exploiting the power and magic of light. Poul Henningsen understood the opportunities light presented and understood more than any other Danish designer how to exploit a source of lighting that today we take for granted but that at the beginning of the 20th century was a luxury available only to a few.

At the end of the 1910s Poul Henningsen began to search for the perfect light and worked to avoid the glare given off by the bulb. It was however first in the mid-1920s that Poul Henningsen was satisfied with his ground-breaking three-shade design. The light now had the particular quality that was the idea all the time and at the same time was directed where it could be used.

Especially in the 1920s and 1930s experimentation was carried out on shade sets, e.g. size and colour, but also frames and stands were changed again and again, placing enormous demands on production, which became hard to handle as well as make money on. Poul Henningsen, however, understood that the PH lamp in time could become a sales success, as did Louis Poulsen.

At the time of his death Poul Henningsen was already regarded as one the greatest Danish designers of his time. Interest from collectors began long ago, but only in recent years have lamps by Poul Henningsen become collector’s icons, frequently achieving record hammer prices at auction.

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