Poul Kjaerholm

Denmark, 1929 – 1980

Poul Kjaerholm (Danish, 1929–1980) was a trained carpenter and designer known for his Modern Functionalist furniture. Born in Øster Vrå in northern Denmark, Kjaerholm studied at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. After graduating in 1952. Poul Kjærholm was employed at Fritz Hansen for about a year, where he designed a number of noteworthy chair prototypes. In 1955 Poul Kjærholm initiated his collaboration with manufacturer and his lifelong friend and entrepreneur Ejvind Kold Christensen. He began designing furniture, distinguishing himself for his unique, minimalist aesthetic. He went on to design dozens of chairs, long chairs, and tables that became ground-breaking for Danish furniture design. In 1958, he created the now-famous PK22 chair and the PK 24 long chair for the Formes Scandinaves exhibition in Paris. A year later, he became an assistant and lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He was then appointed head of the Institute for Design, where he worked until his death.


The collaboration with Kold Christensen lasted until Poul Kjærholm’s death in 1980. In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of “The Kjærholm Collection”, developed from 1951 to 1967, designs, which are logical to the minute detail with an aura of exclusivity.


Kjaerholm was a strong advocate for industrial production. While most of his contemporaries used wood as their primary material, Kjaerholm preferred to work in steel, but always combined it with wood, leather, cane, canvas, and marble.


His designs are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and other institutions in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany. His numerous awards include two Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale in 1957 and 1960, the ID Award, and the Lunning Award in 1958. In 2006, a major retrospective of his work was held at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark.


Important Litrature;
The furniture of Poul Kjaerholm; Catalogue Raisonne,  Gregory R Miller & Co. New York 2007
Poul Kjaerholm, Arkitektens Forlag, The Danish architectural press Denmark 1999

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