Poul Henningsen was born in Copenhagen to the famous Danish author Agnes Henningsen. He never completed his education in architecture but studied at Copenhagen Technical School from 1911-1914 and attended the Technical University of Denmark for three years.
He started out working in traditional Functionalist architecture, but over time his professional interests shifted to lighting – the field where he became famous. In addition to his design work he started to write and later became a journalist and author. For a short period at the beginning of the Second World War he worked as an architect at Tivoli in Copenhagen. Like so many other creative people he fled from Denmark during the German occupation of Denmark. Living in exile, he quickly became a vital part of the Danish colony of architects living in Sweden.
Poul Henningsen – or PH – designed the world-renowned PH lamp series, the Artichoke, the PH80, the PH5 and the Snowball for Louis Poulsen.
Poul Henningsen’s lifelong collaboration with Louis Poulsen Lighting began in 1925 and continued until his death in 1967, and Louis Poulsen still enjoys the benefits of his genius today. Poul Henningsen was also the first editor of Louis Poulsen Lighting’s magazine NYT. The managing director of Louis Poulsen at that time, Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen, gave Henningsen the magazine as a gift - he had been fired from his job as a newspaper journalist because his views had been too radical.
Poul Henningsen’s pioneering work on lighting theory – structure, shadow, glare and colour reproduction in relation to the human need for light – is still in use today at louis Poulsen Lighting.
You can read more about the concept behind the PH lamp family here