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Poul Henningsen, Table Light 3/2 Yellow Metal Top Shade and Opal Glass Shades

$7,500

About

Poul Henningsen (1894 Ordrup, Denmark - Hillerød, Denmark 1967), table light 3/2 yellow or white metal top shade with opal white glass middle and lower shades, patinated metal components, manufactured by Louis Poulsen, Copenhagen, Denmark, origin: Copenhagen, Denmark, circa 1945-1947. Literature: Light years ahead, the story of the PH lamp, by Louis Poulsen, 1994, pgs. 200-202 Poul Henningsen (aka “PH”) is considered to be the “Father of Modern Lighting” and was one of the leading figures of the cultural life of Denmark between the World Wars. An architect by training and a writer by profession, PH is perhaps best known for his inventive lighting fixtures designed in the 1920s with a mission of continuous perfection in the decades thereafter and over the course of his lifetime. PH abhorred the relatively new and accessible lighting of the early 20th century and he was initially prompted, as the story is told, to perfect the garish electric ambiance emanating from a bare lightbulb which hung in his mother’s kitchen. Beginning in the late 1910s, PH began theorizing about how to best design a light fixture to adequately illuminate a space with the new incandescent lightbulb. According to PH, the light emitted from electrical lightbulbs was imperfect because of its “cold” nature which, though cheaper, was too harsh and quite unpleasant to work and live with. He argued that this type of light could cause negative health and mood issues. PH also argued that the new, bright lightbulb shone uncontrolled in all directions in an inefficient way, rather than being directed exactly where it was needed. As such, PH took on the task of designing light fixtures that would not only shield the harmful glare of bright electrical light and change the color to warmer tones, but also direct the light to be most energy-efficient and economical, all within an aesthetically pleasing structure. At the 1925 Paris Exhibition, with the help of the manufacturer Louis Poulsen (who continued to produce PH’s designs until his death), PH’s (together with Knud Sørensen) “Paris Lamp” made of six shades in German silver was awarded the fair's gold medal. While this prototype did not completely resolve all of PH’s noted glare issues, it was an earnest start and he subsequently succeeded with its successor the “PH lamp”. This design, made up of three shades originally in copper with painted undersides resolved PH’s idea that a light fixture should efficiently direct or diffuse light, provide a warmer color of light and eliminate the glare. A slightly modified version of the PH lamp using hand-blown opal glass with sand-blasted undersides was then designed in June 1926. This material allowed approximately 12% of the light to diffuse through the glass and created a more versatile use for the lighting fixture, moving its function away from simply a downward facing lamp. Though a loosely phrased patent was submitted in December 1924, it continued to be revised as PH modified the PH system until the final patent was published in May 1928. This lamp is dated from that period. PH continued to toy with the “PH lamp,” adjusting the lamp shade sizes, materials, and colors as well as experimenting with other designs, all based on the concept of properly distributing and altering light to make it more pleasant and efficient. He was also very interested in the color of light on one’s environment and mood. Amber hand-blown glass - being among the most expensive materials used by PH - best approached his desire to mimic the soft, pleasant glow from candlelight. Yellow painted shades, as seen here, were designed to imitate the more expensive amber glass.

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    Ships From: New York, NY
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About the Design

PH 3/2 Table Lamp

Designed by Poul Henningsen
The PH 3/2 table lamp isn’t just striking; it’s scientific and caring, too. A series of stacked concentric shades, initially made of metal or glass, helps evenly distribute reflected light while concealing the source at its center, creating diffuse illumination that’s much gentler on the eyes than the harsh glare from a bare light bulb, which, in the early days of electric lighting, was an off-putting evolution from the welcoming glow of gas lamps. Designed by Poul Henningsen (1894–1967) in the late-1920s as part of a series that would include around 100 designs, the PH 3/2 table lamp can be traced all the way back to its creator’s humble boyhood.Henningsen was a product of his time. The son of famous Danish writer Agnes Henningsen, the designer and architect grew up at the turn of the century in a small Danish town without electricity, and the soft glow of the gas lights of his childhood left an impression. Henningsen would go on to work in a variety of fields, but as a lighting designer, he sought to emulate the effect of gas-lamp lighting with the then-new electric fixtures of the era. After studying at the Danish College of Technology, Henningsen began designing restaurants, residences and factories in Copenhagen. In 1924, he joined Danish lighting firm Louis Poulsen & Co., where he conducted a series of studies analyzing a lampshade’s function.The modern and wildly nontraditional PH lamp design that resulted from Henningsen’s exploration would characterize his subsequent collection of artful lighting, such as the 3/2 table lamp, which ultimately suits different spaces and functions in its wealth of variations. His Paris light — an early PH configuration he would refine later — earned him a gold medal for modern lighting at the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in France. Louis Poulsen put the PH lamps into production soon afterward, and a long and fruitful collaboration began. In 1958, the partnership yielded another modern-day classic, the dramatic and revolutionary Artichoke lamp. Today, the PH 3/2 table lamp is still available from Louis Poulsen.
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