The Poul Henningsen PH Lamps

One of my favorite series of lamps ever are the Poul Henningsen PH Lamps; the PS Artichoke in particular.

Poul Henningsen was one of the most famous mid-century modern Danish designers and it comes with no surprise that almost all his designs are still manufactured by the Danish company Louis Poulsen.

Not everybody know that the initials of his lamps’ names are his initials as well; PH (from Poul Henningsen).

In 1924 Henningsen designed a series of desk and hanging lamps specifically conceived to reduce the dazzling light coming from the early electric bulbs available at that time, using a multi-shade system similar to a stack of turned-over dishes or bowls.

In general, Henningsen was concerned to eliminate the excessive brightness coming from the bulb -without using filters- to obtain a softened and not direct light.

The Poul Henningsen PH lamps series -winning of numerous awards including the gold metal at the Paris ‘Exposition internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in 1925- was in fact based on the studies Henningsen did until then to obtain this specific effect.

The PH lamps were made of concentric parabolic-section cowls -white painted in the reflective area- that surrounded the bulb making it almost invisible but allowing the light to spread through the space within them.

All the Poul Henningsen PH lamps follow this new concept, but the PH Artichoke has a peculiarity. The shades are opened up and broken into a dynamic series of separate overlapping flaps. They are made from copper, painted white on the underside, that helps to emphasize the warmth and ‘softness’ of the light that is radiated.

The light is still diffused like in all the other PH lamps but the particular design transform it into a sculpture.

Henningsen designed the PH lamps to be mass-produced and they had an huge commercial success all-over Europe indeed.

I briefly wrote about the PH Artichoke in The Cheap Version of 5 Famous Mid-Century Lightnings, check out there where you can find its cheap version. 😉

Do you have any of the Poul Henningsen PH lamps? Would you like to have one? If yes which one?


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