Poul Kjaerholm

designer (1929–1980)

Poul Kjærholm is a Danish designer born in Østervrå, Denmark in 1929. He began his career as an apprentice cabinetmaker in 1948 at Gronbech.

He attended the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen in 1952. Working as a designer, he also became an educator. In 1953 he married Hanne Kjærholm who became a successful architect.

Poul Kjærholm develops a particular interest in building materials, especially steel, which he considers a material worthy of the artistic respect that was commonly attributed to wood.

From the mid-1950s he worked for the furniture manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christiansen who created several of his furniture items. His distinctive style is evident as early as 1952 in his minimalist PKO plywood series.
The collaboration with Christensen, which became a friendship, continued for the rest of their lives and their families.

In 1958 he won international acclaim for his contributions to the "Formes Scandinaves" exhibition in Paris and the award of the legendary "Lunning Award", the same year for his PK22 chair.
Both in 1957 and 1960 he won the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale.
In 1959 he was assistant and teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.
In 1967 he was awarded the Danish ID Prize for product design.
In 1973 he became Director of the Institute of Design and finally professor in 1976 until his death 4 years later.

Two years after the designer's death, the directors of Kjærholm entrusted Fritz Hansen with the production and sale of "The Kjærholm Collection", models developed by Poul Kjærholm from 1951 to 1967.
Fritz Hansen continues the production of products designed by Kjærholm and continues to distribute "his furniture" to architects and clients all over the world.

Products designed by Poul Kjærholm:
PK61 coffee table with "irrational" supporting structure visible through the glass top, 1955.
PK22 is the first chair designed by Poul Kjærholm, produced by E. Kold Christensen and then by Fritz Hansen, 1956.
PK80 daybed, designed in 1956 for Fritz Hansen, draws inspiration from a sofa designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in 1930. It combines elegance and comfort, creating an iconic product, exhibited at the MoMa in New York.
PK11™ chair with three-legged satin brushed stainless steel frame, a perfect balance of bold curves and angles, Fritz Hansen, 1957
PK51™ table, Fritz Hansen, 1957
PK9 padded leather chair. The three-legged base is in brushed satin stainless steel, Fritz Hansen, 1960
PK15 Sessel for PP Møbler, 1979
PK24 Chaise Longue characterizes his style with simple and fluid lines that combine the steel structure with the woven cane seat, Fritz Hansen, 2000.