This year marks the 60th anniversary of the classic PH 5, designed by Danish illumination pioneer Poul Henningsen.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the classic PH 5, designed by Poul Henningsen
To design afficionados, the PH 5 pendant light is a familiar sight — comforting, timeless and distinctly mid-century. And when you learn that the philosophy behind Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen’s best-selling light — designed in 1958 by Poul Henningsen (known as PH) — is “humancentric, comfortable design”, you can appreciate why it’s been so successful. Rasmus Markholt, product ››
‹‹ and design director at Louis Poulsen’s head office, in the heart of sunny Copenhagen, muses on the subject: “It’s become a classic because of the subconscious pleasant feeling it gives — you don’t even realise why you like it.”
The reason why is ingenious. Conceived by thinking about the way design can shape light, Henningsen’s creations bestow sublimely diffused, glare-free illumination. And it’s not just the PH 5. This enduring sentiment extends to all Louis Poulsen lighting designs, from the warm glow of more recent designs such as Nendo’s NJP lamp, to Henningsen’s first pioneeering collaborations with Poulsen in 1926. In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Louis Poulsen has released the now-classic PH 5 design in a stunning copper finish, and the sculptural PH Artichoke, launched that same year, in a warm, brushed brass.
The balance between the new and the innate Danish respect for tradition is evident in the way the brand takes on new designs. Rarely does it receive a pitch for a new concept that is right, and it receives many. “We commission designers and work closely and collaboratively with them,” says Markholt. “We make sure their aesthetic and practice matches ours. A Louis Poulsen light is distinct — modern, sleek and classic, so the range is cohesive. You have uber-modern designs and pieces designed 100 years ago, but they all have that covetable Danish aesthetic.” Louis Poulsen is available at Cult; cultdesign.com.au
Powder coating in action at the Louis Poulsen factory in Vejen, Denmark.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP a copper Artichoke light being made. Shelves in the Louis Poulsen factory. Light pieces on a bench, ready to be made. The Artichoke pendant in brushed brass, its latest 60th anniversary finish. On the production line.