Poul Kjaerholm ((1929–1980))

Danish furniture designer, active Copenhagen. A cabinet-maker by trade, Kjaerholm studied at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts.


He assumed a teaching post upon his graduation in 1956. He later worked as a designer for manufacturers Ejvind Kold Christiansen, and Hellerup. Although a contemporary of Finn Juhl and Arne Jacobsen, Kjaerholm´s furniture shares more in common with the machine aesthetic of the Bauhaus than the likelier idiom of Scandinavian Modern design, as practiced by his colleagues.

Had he so desired, he might have used his training to create exotic, exclusive pieces. However, guided by an "awareness of materials", Kjaerholm instead designed elegant, reductivist furniture noteworthy for its structural clarity, and always with an aim towards economical mass productionæa core concept of his design philosophy. To achieve this goal, Kjaerholm made extensive use of steel frames, simply combined with seats made from contrasting materials such as wicker, leather, or rope. His PK 22 chair, for instance, consists of only 3 pieces: the frame, support brackets, and wicker seat.

Kjaerholm´s furniture was forward looking both in concept, and construction; technology to mass produce some of it did not exist until well after his death.

Many important architects chose to furnish their homes with Kjaerholm´s furniture, citing its structural integrity, and its austere, yet comfortable functionality.

His honors include the 1957 Triennalle di Milano Grand Prix, the 1958 Lunning Prize, and 1960 Eckersberg Medal, and was a fellow of the Royal Academy from 1962-72.

Notable pieces and projects include a 1951 stretched leather stool, the widely published Armchair II (1957), the PK 61 table (1955), the dining room of the Royal Porcelain concert hall (1977), and the restaurant Kanalen (1978).

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