Lighting Design Inspiration – Poul Henningsen


Poul Henningsen (1894 – 1967) is a true design icon and was born in Copenhagen to the famous Danish actress Agnes Henningsen. He studied at The Technical School at Frederiksberg, Denmark from 1911-14, and then at Technical College in Copenhagen from 1914-17 but never graduated as an architect.

He was a self taught inventor and started practicing traditional functionalistic architecture, but over the years his professional interests changed to focus mainly on lighting which is why the name PH has become synonymous with Danish lighting design. He also became a writer and was a journalist, author and critic.

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 עיצוב תערוכות.

Poul Henningsen, better known by his initials PH, was obsessed with light. His self-appointed mission was to find “harmony in lighting” and this was fueled by his experience working as an architect designing houses, factories, and theaters.

With the introduction of the electric light PH found the glare from the electric bulb too blinding. To his mind, this was unsatisfactory for his buildings so he began experimenting and creating designs of his own.

In 1924 PH began working with Louis Poulsen, an electrical appliances manufacturer, to produce a lamp that would have the same soft, relaxing qualities of the petroleum lamp and would become his most famous work, the 3 shade “PH lamp.”

In preparation for the Paris industrial design exhibition in 1925, he took part in a competition on home lighting and ended up winning six prizes!

The PH lamp was unveiled to the world at the 1925 World expo in Paris.

The PH lamp was the result of 10 years of scientific study and incorporates tiers of shades, allowing the user to direct light in several different directions without exposing the light source.

According to Henningsen: “the whole trick is not directly illuminating more of a room than is strictly necessary”

The PH Artichoke , arguably one the most iconic lights ever made, develops the same idea using even more panels and layers of shades. The design centers on a 360-degree glare-free light created by 72 leaves, that resemble an artichoke. It was originally designed for the Langeline Pavilion restaurant in Copenhagen where the lights still hang today.

The few remaining rough sketches show that its basic design was conceived very quickly.

The PH Artichoke is a true timeless classical masterpiece. The structure is made of steel arches with the leaves attached to the frame. The light is reflected and directed upon the leaves, until it illuminates the entire artichoke. You can view the fixture from any angle without seeing the light source, which is located in the center of the PH Artichoke.

You can view the fixture from any angle without seeing the light source, which is located in the center of the PH Artichoke.

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