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Poul Kjærholm

Poul Kjærholm married to Hanne Kjærholm was trained as a cabinet maker in 1948, and later he attended classes given by Hans J. Wegner, Jørn Utzon and Palle Suenson at Kunsthåndværkerskolen (the Danish Design School), which he completed in 1952. In 1959 he was employed at Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole (the School of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts), and from 1976 until his death he worked there as a professor.
 
The point of departure of Poul Kjærholm's work as a furniture designer was the Danish furniture tradition. Other significant sources of inspiration were the German Bauhaus school and the Dutch artists' group De Stijll. Especially the painter Piet Mondrian and the furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld greatly influenced his language of form and ideas of design.
 
Poul Kjærholm's furniture is classic and at the same time radically innovative. Like the best Danish furniture classics, his chairs, sofas, stools and tables intimately combine function, form and material. He created minimalist furniture, which are free of superfluous detail and embellishment and liberated from the demands of time and fashion – they are timeless. 
 
Unlike the Danish furniture tradition using wood as the basic material, the radical quality of Poul Kjærholm's furniture is made up by the fact that he was the first Danish furniture designer to consistently make use of the new, modern materials: steel and leather. Also, he combined craftmanship with the precision of industrial production.
 
The Allen screw - a small screw with high strength - became a very important element in Poul Kjærholm's design. It makes it possible to make quite simple, yet strong fixings. Poul Kjærholm did not make any effort to hide the fixings. Rather the reverse, as they are fully visible – almost like an ornament – thereby allowing us to immediately perceive the furniture as design. In this way all Poul Kjærholm's chairs can be easily disassembled into their visible parts.
 
Moreover, the design and the materials allow the furniture to be modular, such as the sofa PK 31, which is available as a stand-alone chair as well as a two- or three-seater sofa.
 
Poul Kjærholm's furniture designs are based on the materials used and the tools required to process the material. They are simple, original and universal, characterised by being thoroughly prepared, uncompromising and good craftmanship. He introduced new materials and design principles into Danish furniture art, but used these in a way that matched the Danish furniture tradition.
Pouk Kjærholm (1929-1980)