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The Tale of Poul Henningsen and the PH 5 Lamp

For six decades, the legendary PH 5 lamp by Louis Poulsen has proudly shone, Poul Henningsen's revolutionary design donning a contemporary color palette, breathing new life into living spaces.
 
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Born in 1958, the PH 5 lamp has become an icon of happy light in Denmark
From the tender age of 18, Poul Henningsen was captivated by the mysterious allure of light. Nurtured in the gentle glow of kerosene lamps, he found the harsh glare of the newly-introduced electric bulbs jarring and unsettling. This stark contrast ignited a deep-seated curiosity within him, propelling him on a lifelong quest to harness the power of light and create harmony in its illumination. Henningsen's relentless pursuit of lighting perfection led to the groundbreaking invention of the multi-shade lamp, also known as the glare-free shade with multiple parts. The meticulous design of each component—its size, shape, and position—meticulously calibrated to influence the distribution and intensity of light. When unveiled at the 1925 Paris World's Fair, the lamp was christened "Paris," a testament to the city where it first dazzled the world. Throughout his illustrious career, Henningsen continued to refine and apply the principles of this revolutionary design, leaving an indelible mark on the world of lighting.
 
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Though he bore the Henningsen name, Poul was not merely a product of his famous mother's legacy. Agnes Henningsen, a celebrated writer and champion of equality, wove a profound influence into the fabric of her son's being. Born from her unconventional union with journalist Carl Ewald, Poul's childhood unfolded within a home radiant with tolerance and a bohemian spirit.
 
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Crafted by Poul Henningsen, the PH 3/2 lamp is a design masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Its elegant, minimalist silhouette evokes a sense of nostalgia, while its warm, diffused light creats an inviting and intimate atmosphere
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This artistic milieu nurtured Poul's burgeoning talents. Like his mother, he was a master of words, emerging as a sharp-witted social critic. Poul's pen weaved evocative poetry, crafted scripts for scintillating variety shows, and even graced publications with his editorial touch. In the Copenhagen of that era, his talents were met with public adulation. However, history would come to remember Poul Henningsen not as a wordsmith, but as a lighting designer, a luminary who brought harmony to the world of illumination.
Henningsen's architectural contributions to Copenhagen are numerous and varied. He played a pivotal role in shaping the beloved Tivoli Gardens, infusing the amusement park with his unique design aesthetic. His masterful touch can also be seen in the interiors of several renowned theaters, where he crafted spaces that were both functional and aesthetically captivating.

“The correct illumination of a room does not require money, but insight.”

 
In those days, Henningsen would often ride the tram, and he would observe the many houses on the ground floor that were dark in the evening. He wrote:
"When one looks into first-floor homes from a passing tram in the evenings, one shudders to see how gloomy they are. Furniture, style carpets, everything in a home is secondary to the importance of lighting. The correct illumination of a room does not require money, but insight.”
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Luxurious Artichoke lamp with 12 steel domes and 72 copper leaves.
The resounding success of the revolutionary lamp opened the door for a collaboration between Henningsen and Louis Poulsen Lighting, a leading lighting manufacturer, shortly after the World's Fair. Since then, timeless designs have been created one after another, and Henningsen's legacy continues to illuminate the works of Louis Poulsen.
The year 1958 marked the dawn of two masterpieces of lighting art, two radiant lighthouses illuminating the world of design. The PH Artichoke, with its magnificent beauty, is designed for grand public spaces. Its intricate structure, reminiscent of an artichoke, casts a captivating play of light and shadow, creating an atmosphere of opulence and sophistication. The PH 5, with its refined and elegant design, has become an icon in cozy homes. Its carefully crafted layers of shades diffuse the light, producing a soft, warm glow that fosters a sense of intimacy and relaxation.
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Poul Henningsen and the PH 5 lamp
To this day, the PH 5 remains a fixture in nearly every Danish home, a cherished companion that brings warm light to every family. Transcending national borders, the PH 5 continues to shine brightly in other parts of the world, affirming its place in the hearts of art and design lovers.
 
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The PH5 lamp was launched with many modern colors in 2018
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In the realm of lighting design, few names have been borrowed as much as Poul Henningsen's. The delicate lines of his creations have built a distinct school of illumination, where light sings melodious serenades. However, imitators often lose themselves in copying the form, losing sight of Henningsen's guiding light - the function.
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Poul Henningsen was more than just a designer, he was an artist of light. In his creations, he seamlessly blended science and romance to craft lamps that were not only beautiful but also incredibly useful. Henningsen did not believe that form was the ultimate factor. He used science to analyze and create the optimal shapes for illumination. He was also a romantic, always striving to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere with light. The light in Henningsen's designs is reminiscent of the soft oil lamps in a childhood home. It carries both memories and emotions into each design, making them not only beautiful but also incredibly vibrant.
 
 

 
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