Modernist Designers Series / Poul Kjærholm

This month’s modern designer hails from Denmark, a country famous for producing many of the biggest names in the Modernist movement.

( source )

Poul Kjærholm (1929-1980)
Denmark
Designer

Poul Kjærholm is most known for bringing the use of steel into modern design, but surprisingly, his career started as a carpenter’s apprentice. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that Kjærholm studied under renowned designer Hans Wegner and Jørn Utzon (an industrial designer) at Copenhagen’s School of Arts and Crafts.

In the years that followed, Kjærholm designed chairs and tables for E. Kold Christensen and Fritz Hansen, and he earned several design awards along the way. He once said that his design philosophy came, not from expressing his own personality, but from expressing the personality of the materials.

By combining natural materials like wood and leather with his characteristic touch of steel piping, he created some of the most innovative furniture designs of the era. The PK22 and PK24 lounge chair designs are his most famous.

PK22 lounge chair, 1960 ( source )

PK22 lounge chair, 1960 (source)

PK24 lounge chair ( source )

PK24 lounge chair (source)

In addition to furniture design, Kjærholm also spent many years teaching at his alma mater, the Royal Danish Academy of Arts, and the Design Institute. Nevertheless, he continued to design chairs until his death in 1980.

More Modern Designs from Poul Kjærholm

PK9 Chair ( source )

PK9 Chair (source)

PK61 Coffee Table in Steel and Glass E. Kold Christensen Denmark ( source )

PK61 Coffee Table in Steel and Glass E. Kold Christensen Denmark (source)

PK71 Nesting tables for E. Kold Christensen ( source )

PK71 Nesting tables for E. Kold Christensen (source)

PK11 chair design for E. Kold Christensen, 1957 ( source )

PK11 chair design for E. Kold Christensen, 1957 (source)

“Holscher” chair with welded steel tube frame ( source )

“Holscher” chair with welded steel tube frame (source)

Keep an eye out for our next featured designer in May…

In the meantime, tell us about your favorite modern designer in the comments below!