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The Enchanting Tale of Poul Henningsen's Artichoke Lamp

In the kaleidoscope of contemporary lamp design, where opulence and innovation reign supreme, it's easy to forget that just a century ago, electric light remained a luxury in most households. Compared to the grand narrative of domestic artifacts, the lamp is a relatively new invention.
In a stroke of irony, one of the most revolutionary lighting designs of the modern era emerged from the mind of a man who came of age before the advent of electricity. Decades later, Poul Henningsen's Artichoke lamp continues to be celebrated as a design icon, fundamentally transforming our perception of illumination since its debut in 1958.
In the year 1894, within a quaint Danish town, Poul Henningsen's world came alive amidst the gentle glow of gas lamps. Although formally trained in architecture, his true calling manifested in the realm of lighting design. Fueled by an unyielding fascination for the incandescent bulb, Henningsen's inventions emerged, both resplendent and refined. His guiding principle with lighting design was to banish glare entirely and distribute illumination evenly within a space, transforming artificial light into a masterful orchestration.
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In 1958, a fateful encounter unfolded at the bustling Langelinie seaside park in Copenhagen. Two talented architects, Eva and Nils Koppel, approached Poul Henningsen, the Danish master of light, with a promising proposition. They yearned for him to illuminate their soon-to-open restaurant, transforming it into a masterpiece of both culinary and visual artistry.
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The invitation rekindled a bold idea that Henningsen had been nurturing for over 30 years - a ceiling lamp shaped like an inverted artichoke. The artistic challenge ignited a fierce creative fire within him. In just three months, five masterpieces, named the Artichoke Lamps, crafted by the renowned lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen, shone resplendently at the Langelinie Pavilion.
 
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Each Artichoke Lamp is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, made up of 72 meticulously folded copper "leaves." They cleverly conceal the light bulb inside, providing a warm and gentle light. But the real secret lies in the light pink paint that coats the underside of the leaves. It is this paint that transforms the light, giving diners below a rosy, radiant complexion, as if they were basking in a glorious sunset.
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Beyond the original beauty of brass, the PH Artichoke is also crafted in polished and brushed steel, copper, white and black finishes. Choose the ideal size from four versions, ranging in diameter from 48 to 84 cm. Each lamp is a work of art, providing sparkling light and enriching your living space.
 
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The Artichoke Lamp is a masterpiece of design, a perfect marriage of form and function. It is a testament to Poul Henningsen's pioneering work in the field of lighting design. However, to own this work of art requires a significant investment. Produced exclusively by Louis Poulsen, the renowned Danish lighting brand, the Artichoke pendant lamp has maintained its high price tag since its debut. Even the smallest version of the Artichoke starts at $12,000.
However, that does not deter those who are captivated by the unique beauty of this design. Today, the market offers a wide variety of lights inspired by Henningsen's Artichoke at a much more accessible price point. These reproductions or inspired designs still provide soft, glare-free light, while paying homage to the aesthetic of the Artichoke masterpiece.
 
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The designer Robert Couturier once said of his love for the Artichoke Lamp:
“Chandeliers can be quite difficult to use, but this one is very discreet since the light is diffused. I have always used it with great effect over small dining tables. It is a very complimentary light.
 
 

 
nanoHome is the exclusive distributor in Vietnam for the USM Modular Furniture brand from Switzerland, Fritz Hansen, HAY Design from Denmark, Flos from Italy, and BD Barcelona Design from Spain.
  • Showroom 1: nanoHome Gallery at 675 - 677 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 25, Binh Thanh District, HCMC (Near Ung Van Khiem Street - Saigon Bridge).
  • Showroom 2: House at 215G6 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC.
 
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