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Poul Kjærholm

(1929—1980)


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(1929–80)

Kjaerholm was one of the most renowned Danish furniture designers of the 20th century and did much to consolidate Denmark's international reputation in the field after the Second World War. After a cabinetmaking apprenticeship in 1949 Kjaerholm went on to the School of Commercial Art in Copenhagen in 1952. From an early stage of his career he was interested in experimenting with materials other than the traditional medium of wood. Steel frames combined with natural materials, aluminium with plywood, and other combinations informed the range of elegant, clearly articulated and precise design solutions that characterized his work. From the mid‐1950s he worked for Kold Christiansen, an entrepreneur who supported Kjaerholm's outlook, producing an extensive range of furniture types. An early design that marked his distinctive style was the plywood PKO of 1952. His elegant, minimalist PK61 coffee table of 1955 represented a clever questioning of the functionalist aesthetic with the ‘irrational’ supporting frame visible through the rectilinear glass top. He attracted international attention from his contributions to the Formes Scandinaves exhibition in Paris in 1958 and the award of the prestigious Lunning Prize in the same year. His work also attracted attention at the Milan Triennali of 1957 and 1960 where he was awarded Grand Prizes. The economic flowing, elegant form of his chaise longue, the PK24 of 1965, combining steel and woven cane, typifies his mature style. In 1967 he was awarded the Danish ID Prize for product design. After his death in 1980 many of his classic designs were put into production by the leading Danish furniture manufacturing firm Fritz Hansen.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.


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