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Architect, designer, cultural critic, writer, poet. Poul Henningsen was a man of many talents, but most important is his contribution to the evolution of modern lighting. PH was determined to improve the quality of electric light through the combination of art and technique. In 1926 he accomplished this with his iconic three-shade system, a design that introduced the perfect glare-free light. This marked his international breakthrough and the beginning of a remarkable career in close collaboration with lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen. A collaboration that brought to life a string of iconic and unrivaled lighting fixtures. Poul Henningsen ultimately changed our perception of light, and almost a century later, his light fixtures still stand as some of the greatest designs of all time, making him the true master of light.

Louvre pendant, 1957 Copper, partly painted and steel

Between1925-26 PH realized that for him to control the direction of the light, he needed to incorporate the concept of the logarithmic spiral into the curvature of his lampshades. During this time, he was assigned to provide lighting for the newly constructed Forum Exhibition Hall in Copenhagen. This resulted in his classic three-shade construction where each shade is made to equally distribute the amount of light reflected. The three-shade design is not simply an example of great lighting. The logarithmic composition of the three shades is also bound to the principles of The Golden Ratio. When Poul Henningsen applied these principles to his design he achieved an organic, balanced, and visually pleasing composition. The PH lamp is therefore one of the greatest examples of how technical excellence should not compromise the aesthetic appearance.

Pendant 4½/4, 1926 Browned brass and opaline glass

Floor lamp 3/2, 1931 Browned brass and frosted yellow glass

Chandelier, 1932 Browned brass, painted copper shades and wood

A rare PH5 floor lamp, 1964 Painted aluminium and brass

PH-5 pendant, 1958 Copper

Poul Henningsen’s fluorescent pendant was designed for the exhibition The House of Tomorrow in Copenhagen in 1959 as part of an interior showing a vision of the home of the future. Architects Ole Helweg and Torsten Johansson were in charge of the project. They built a round plastic house and called on Henningsen to design the lighting. The model is based on Henningsen’s celebrated 'Artichoke’ pendant, designed for the Langelinie Pavillon in Copenhagen in 1958. The fluorescent pendant was, however, a much more radical experiment; a creative and passionate comment on the entry of the fluorescent tube, which Henningsen had opposed for years. The pendant consists of yellow, red and white shades, which by means of a fluorescent tube reveal an intense interplay of colours, when the lamp is lit. The light emanating from the yellow and red shades becomes fluorescent, while the white shades appear blue when struck by the ultraviolet light of the fluorescent tube. Placed in a dark room, the pendant appears as a beautiful floating light sculpture.

Fluorescent pendant, 1959 Designed exclusively for the exhibition ’The House of Tomorrrow’, Copenhagen Painted sheet metal

Floor lamp 5/3, 1927 Browned brass and opaline glass

“A revolutionary art industry must embrace the attempt to improve our everyday objects. It is about the fruitful meeting between art and technique, to which I want to repeat an old aphorism: the artist must never forget that he is a technician, the technician never that he is an artist.” POUL HENNINGSEN

Piano lamp, 1931 Browned brass and opaline glass

Early Artichoke pendant, 1958 Brushed copper, partly painted and steel

Four-shade pendant, 1931 Nickel-plated metal and opaline glass

Four-shade pendat, 1931 Browned brass and frosted yellow glass

Pendant 4/4, 1926 Nickel-plated metal and painted copper shades Stamped ’PAT. APPL.’

A pair of Elongated wall lights, 1934 Browned brass, bakelite and frosted glass

Large pendant 8/6, c. 1929 Nickel-plated copper and copper shades

Table lamp 4/3, 1927 Nickel-plated metal, painted copper and opaline glass

Wall lamp 3/3, 1927 Nickel-plated metal and frosted glass Stamped ’PAT. APPL.’

Gold rim pendant 5/5, c. 1928 Nickel-plated metal and frosted glass

Prism pendant 6/3, 1927 Painted copper and glass Designed exclusively for the Palace Hotel, Copenhagen

Contrast pendant, 1958 Aluminium, partly chromed and painted

photo index p. 2

Poul Henningsen by Jesper Høm

p. 13, 17, 19

Brahl Fotografi

p. 20

Poul Henningsen by Willy Henriksen

p. 28

Wall paper from Poul Henningsens home in Gentofte by artist Albert Nauer

Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery Bredgade 5 DK - 1260 Copenhagen Denmark Aldersrogade 6C DK - 2100 Copenhagen Denmark +45 3332 3837 photography: Dansk Møbelkunst exhibition ’Master of Light’ curated by: Sara Bay Panduro copyright: Dansk Møbelkunst 2021

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