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Poul Henningsen

Poul Henningsen (Denmark, 1894–1967)

The name Poul Henningsen is synonymous with the best and most innovative modern Scandinavian lighting. The Danish designer created a signature vocabulary of fixtures with tiered and layered shades in sculptural arrangements that are at once naturalistic and geometric. 


Henningsen grew up in a town on the outskirts of Copenhagen and studied architecture at the Technical University of Denmark. He would become a noted art critic, journalist and screenwriter, but his first love was lighting design. Henningsen’s childhood home was illuminated by oil lamps. When his family switched to electrified lighting, he was alarmed and repelled by the harsh glare cast by an incandescent bulb, and in his late teens he began conducting quasi-scientific experiments to measure which materials and methods best diffused or reflected light to give it a warm brightness. His work came to the attention of the lighting-fixtures firm Louis Poulsen, which sponsored the development of a prototype lamp. The design won a gold medal at the 1925 Paris Expositions Internationales des Arts Decóratifs et Industriels Modernes — from which the term Art Deco derives. The lamp, whose three-part shade is said to be inspired by the arrangement of a dinner plate atop a soup bowl atop a teacup, became the basis for Henningsen’s most successful design, the PH 4/3 desk lamp.


All told, Henningsen would design some 100 lighting fixtures in his career. Some of his most notable creations are hanging lamps, which include the “Septima” (1929), a pendant composed of seven graduated frosted-glass layers; the “Spiral” (1942), made of a single ribbon of enameled aluminum; and the “Artichoke” (1958), whose 70 glass or metal fins in a staggered and graduated arrangement on a central steel frame resemble those of its namesake. The last is likely Henningsen’s masterwork and an icon of mid-20th-century design. Like all Henningsen lighting designs, it is striking, sculptural and — thanks to his insistence on the primacy of the quality of the light cast — superbly functional.


Iconic Designs from Poul Henningsen
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Artichoke Lamp
Artichoke Lamp
PH 3/2 Table Lamp
PH 3/2 Table Lamp
PH 3 1/2 - 2 1/2 Floor Lamp
PH 3 1/2 - 2 1/2 Floor Lamp
PH 3-2 1/2 Outdoor Wall Sconce
PH 3-2 1/2 Outdoor Wall Sconce
Applied Filters5 results
Creator:Poul Henningsen
Dealer:Almond Hartzog Gallery
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Poul Henningsen Double Ring Chandelier
By Poul Henningsen
Located in San Francisco, CA
A double ring chandelier by Poul Henningsen. Features a browned brass frame, four shades of 2/2 yellow/matte glass with bakelite socket covers and wire holders. Stamped "PH-2/2" and ...
Category

1930s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Poul Henningsen

Materials

Brass

Poul Henningsen PH4/3 Table Lamp, Stampled "Pat. Appl"
By Louis Poulsen, Poul Henningsen
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

Early 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Poul Henningsen

Materials

Brass, Copper

Copper Pendant by Poul Henningsen
By Poul Henningsen
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1920s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Poul Henningsen

Materials

Copper, Glass

"Emperor" Suspension Chandelier by Poul Henningsen
By Poul Henningsen
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1930s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Poul Henningsen

Materials

Brass, Art Glass, Bakelite

Orange Pendant Ph-4/3 by Poul Henningsen
By Poul Henningsen
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

20th Century Danish Mid-Century Modern Poul Henningsen

Materials

Metal

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