Carl Hansen & Søn



During his relatively short career as a furniture designer, Poul Kjærholm made his mark as one of the finest representatives of modernism. His work was deeply rooted in the Danish furniture tradition, but also inspired by some of the most prominent international designers.

Designer bio

Through his important work as an architect and teacher, Poul Kjærholm (1929-1980) is regarded a central figure in international furniture design. Kjærholm combined his modern form language with an uncompromising approach to materials and quality, strongly rooted in the Danish tradition of craftsmanship. At the same time, he was deeply inspired by the German Bauhaus School and the Dutch De Stijl movement, represented by painter Piet Mondrian, among others. Designers Gerrit Rietveld, Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames also greatly influenced Kjærholm's work.

Not all of Kjærholm's inspiration, however, was drawn from abroad. He was also deeply influenced by Danish furniture designer Kaare Klint, who helped found the Department of Furniture Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and, with his ideals of simple form and outstanding craftsmanship, is viewed as the father of modern Danish design. Klint's vision of simple and clear expression had a major impact on Kjærholm who, like Klint, was uncompromising in his work with proportions and materials as well as in his craftsmanship.

Kjærholm made a name for himself primarily with his modern steel, leather and glass furniture. After completing his training as a cabinetmaker in Hjørring, Denmark in 1949, he went on to study furniture design at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts (now the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design) in Copenhagen, graduating in 1952 and returning again to teach shortly afterwards. He became a lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1955, and was appointed as professor in 1976, succeeding Ole Wanscher. Kjærholm remained at the Academy until his death in 1980.

Function and clarity became the hallmarks of Kjærholm's entire career as both an educator and a furniture designer. He did not see himself as someone who designed objects, but rather as someone who created spaces. He often designed furniture with particular places in mind, doing so with a rigor and level of detail that continues to arouse admiration. In his own words, Kjærholm strived to express each material's own language - whether he was working with steel, leather, glass, wood or wicker.

Kjærholm was an idealist in his field. Throughout his career, he avoided easy solutions and refused to be influenced by shifting fads. He was driven by a desire to realize each material's intrinsic nature and create harmony between form and material - and often felt there was only one solution to a given problem. He was a demanding teacher guided by perfectionism and discipline, his idealistic approach to design also manifesting itself among his students.

Kjærholm's furniture is represented in a number of international museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work earned him numerous awards, including the Lunning Award in 1958, the Eckersberg's Medal in 1960, and multiple ID Awards.

Experience Poul Kjærholm's iconic Professor Table deigned for the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1955.





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