Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Poul Kjærholm

PK Timeline

POUL KJÆRHOLM 1929 – 1980

Poul Kjærholm was a trained carpenter and continued his studies at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts.

Poul Kjærholm was born in a small village in Denmark, and at the age of only 15, he was apprenticed to a local master cabinetmaker. Having obtained his apprenticeship, young Kjærholm left his childhood region and went to Copenhagen where he was admitted to study at The Danish School of Arts and Crafts. Here he studied under Hans J. Wegner. He was also heavily influenced by international designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the radical, Dutch minimalist Gerrit Rietveld.

Poul Kjærholm proved his unique talent already in his early years at the Arts and Crafts school, when he engaged in bold and visionary experiments with novel materials and production technologies. Thus, in 1950 Poul Kjærholm developed the basic concept for a radical new series of furniture in compression-moulded plywood, the PK0 chair. This sculptural and futuristic piece of furniture challenged all norms in traditional furniture design at the time.

In 1955 Poul Kjærholm initiated his collaboration with manufacturer Ejvind Kold Christensen, which lasted until Poul Kjærholm’s death in 1980.

In1956 Kjærholm acheived his commercial breakthrough, when the elegant PK22™ lounge chair was put into production at Kold Christensen’s. The chair stands up to comparison with the world famous Barcelona chair designed by Kjærholm’s  idol, van der Rohe back in 1929.  Everything in this unique chair has been worked out carefully down to the smallest detail, and Kjærholm made it a point of honour to perfect even hidden joints, something which imposed very high demands on the quality of the craftsmanship during production.

The unique design themes of the PK22™ are reiterated by Poul Kjærholm in various later creations, such as the PK24™ chaise longue from 1965 and the Bauhaus inspired PK20™ lounge chair from 1967 where the characteristic, elegant lines of the PK22™ are found.

Kjærholm had a particular interest in different construction materials; especially steel which he considered a natural material with the same artistic fineness as other natural materials.

In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of “The Kjærholm Collection”, developed from 1951 to 1967. To this day all Authorised Original Poul Kjærholm furniture is made by Fritz Hansen; if it isn’t made by Fritz Hansen it’s a copy.

In 2007 Fritz Hansen added two new pieces to the Kjærholm Collection. Pieces that were never in production before: the PK8™ side chair; and PK58™ dining table.

Today the production adheres to the same rigorous demands in quality and processing as before, and Fritz Hansen has made it a point of honour to maintain partnership with the many dedicated subcontractors who from the very beginning have had a great influence on the uncompromising production of these design icons.


Find Me The Original PK22 Video

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