about Poul Henningsen

POUL HENNINGSEN (1894 – 1967)

Poul Henningsen was born in Ordrup, Denmark on September 9, 1894. Henningsen was the illegitimate son of an author and a satirist, which can also be seen in the way he grew up: tolerant and modern. This is also reflected in the freedom and inventiveness dominating Poul Henningsen´s designs.

At the early age of 14 Poul Henningsen invented the highest stilts in the world. Some years later it was a self-inflating bike. At the age of 18 Henningsen started to study architecture. After 6years he abandoned his studies without a degree. From then on Poul Henningsen worked as a painter, inventor and designer.  

In 1924 Henningsen took part in a contest for the lighting of the Industrial Design Fair in Paris: all in all Henningsen won 6 prices but as modest as he was, he told everyone that he only won these prices because he knew one of the jurors quite well. Nevertheless, one year later, Henningsen demonstrated all his skills when he presented his design of the PH-lamp.

And it were the lamps that fascinated Poul Henningsen throughout his life: the PH-lamp, which was produced for the first time in 1926, is still one of the most sold and most famous lamps in the world. Over the years Poul Henningsen improved and revised the PH-lamp again and again and so created a piece of design work that does not only look unique but also creates the perfect light. Differently arranged lampshades ensure a 100% non-dazzling but still bright and pleasant light.  

During the Second World War Poul Henningsen fled to Sweden. From there he supported the resistance with anonymous poems. Until his death in 1967 Poul Henningsen kept fighting for freedom and against moralization and existing conventions in the Danish press – he was always a polemicist and a provocateur.

The PH-lamp can definitely be seen as is life’s work, but Poul Henningsen was also very successful and recognized as an architect. In 1941 for example, he helped to create the design of the Tivoli.

Poul Henningsen died in Hillerod, Denmark in 1967.