“The correct illumination of a room does not require money, but insight.”
Architect, designer, author, intellectual--Poul Henningsen, popularly known in his native Denmark as PH, lived his life looking to the future and doing his best to drive the present toward the best future possible.
Henningsen grew up in the town of Ordrup, Denmark, before it was wired for electricity. He showed an early aptitude for invention, earning a prestigious scholarship at age sixteen for creating a self-pumping bicycle. From 1911 to 1917, he studied to be an architect, but left school before graduating.
After a short apprenticeship, Poul Henningsen became a freelance architect and designer, joining lighting design firm Louis Poulsen, with whom he would stay until his death in 1967. This collaboration led to a long series of design triumphs, including the PH Artichoke and PH5, his most popular lights. At the heart of all Poul Henningsen’s lights was a desire to tame the harshness of the electric light and to make the spaces they illuminated more natural and humane.
Lights, writing, pianos, and furniture, Poul Henningsen’s huge variety of work continues to be celebrated for its scientific precision as much as its artistic expression. His lamps, still available from Louis Poulsen--though with addition of LED technology--remain paradigmatic examples of the modern design movement Poul Henningsen helped to shape.