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Poul Kjaerholm

Biographies
Poul Kjaerholm

*  1929 Oster Vra
† 1980 Hillerod


Born in Oster Vra, Denmark, in 1929, the furniture designer Poul Kjaerholm first trained as a cabinet-maker before studying furniture design from 1949 until 1952 at the Copenhagen School for the Applied Arts. Poul Kjaerholm's 1951 piece for his diploma was the "PK 25" chair, featuring a back of cut, chromium-plated sheet steel. The seat and back were made of flag cable, which was twisted about the frame and pulled taut. Poul Kjaerholm's seat furniture designs reveal his commitment to Classical Modernism. However, Poul Kjaerholm moderated its stringent functionalism with softer, lighter forms as well as the typically Scandinavian use of natural materials such as wood, leather, and woven cane. Poul Kjaerholm's designs for furniture were executed by the firms of Fritz Hansen and E. Kold Christensen. In 1952 Poul Kjaerholm designed the "PK 0" chair of molded laminated wood, which can be viewed as the sum of his preoccupation with organic furniture design and the Charles and Ray Eames "Lounge Chair Wood", which had been launched seven years before. In 1955/56 Poul Kjaerholm designed the light, elegant "PK 22" chair, with a seat that could be made of both leather and woven cane. That Poul Kjaerholm design recalls the Mies van der Rohe "Barcelona Chair". The surface of the 1965 "Hammock" chaise longue also consists of woven cane. It is so elongated that it recalls the "LC1" Le Corbusier piece of the same type but looks far simpler and lighter. The Poul Kjaerholm "PK 91" folding stool, covered in either leather or sailcloth, dates from 1961. In 1967 Poul Kjaerholm designed the "PK 20" swing chair. With Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen, Verner Panton, and Hans Wegner, Poul Kjaerholm is one of the most important exponents of the legendary Danish design. From 1952 until 1956 Poul Kjaerholm taught at the Copenhagen School for the Applied Arts. In 1976 he became a professor at Copenhagen Art Academy and was director of it until his death in 1980.