Poul Henningsen: Re-Shaping the Future

Poul Henningsen’s furniture and piano designs sit distinctly apart from the creations of his contemporaries. Poul Henningsen (PH) was prolific in his output, creating numerous ideas for furniture, lighting and public spaces. Though the range of items PH designed is diverse, they all have one thing in common: PH’s desire to re-shape the future of the every day environment experienced by everyone in to something more functional, more practical and more beautiful.

Though Poul Henningsen is best known for his lighting and piano designs, he was also a trained architect and it is likely that this fundamental understanding of use of space influenced this outcome of the items he created for use inside homes and public buildings.

PH rejected wholly the concept of ‘tradition’ in favour of re-inventing every day objects from their very core. PH believed that the concepts of transparency, democracy and the idea that well designed things should be accessible to and experienced by everyone – these ideas were fundamental to his creations. The result of this thinking is a Collection of designs available from PH Furniture that were once considered ‘provocative’ since they challenged the status quo, though in today’s world they are in perfect synergy with modern living.

Henningsen was inspired by the natural world around him and this can be seen in many of his creations. PH arrived at designs that are soft and fluid, connecting harmoniously with their surroundings. The glass lid of the PH Grand Piano is reminiscent of a butterfly’s wing, the base of the PH Pope Chair and PH Desk like the delicate roots of a plant. The PH Lamp allows light to gently pass through it’s shade in the same way sunlight passes through the canopy of the leaves of a tree.

It could be said that PH had arrived at some of the many of the ideas that became features of ‘Deconstructivism’ a number of decades before the architectural concept became popular. ‘Deconstructivist’ architecture features designs that are free of straight lines, corners and symmetry – we see PH explored these concepts within a number his furniture designs fifty years before the Deconstructionist movement gained it’s name. The PH Snake Chair and PH Snake Stools are perfect examples: these asymmetrical seating designs consist of one piece of curved steel, mirroring the fluid architectural forms that would be widely applauded decades after their inception. Similarly, PH Pope Chair and PH Lounge Chair feature curved legs that defy the convention that a chair should generally have four harsh straight lines for legs placed at approximately ninety degrees to the corner of the seat, while the PH Grand Piano is a symphony of curves, warm leather and transparency that allows us to see inside the very soul of the instrument; encouraging the audience to move closer and to embrace the music.

PH seemed to understand deeply the very essence of ‘being human’: people are not simplistically angular and made of purely hard materials, so it makes sense that the environment in which we live should not be either. PH’s furniture is so very often constructed of the strongest of bones, fleshed with the most tactile and beautiful finishings of smooth wood and leather. PH’s designs are not only practical and functional, but also sensual. Poul Henningsen realised that it is the things that we look at and touch everyday that are fundamental to the quality of our existence due to the profound influence they have on our lives, even if it is only at a subconscious level.

PH Furniture is proud to bring to the market for the first time a Collection of Poul Henngsen’s furniture that has never been previously produced: in looking back in to the archives, the future of furniture has now arrived.