Poul Henningsen (9 September 1894 – 31 January 1967)
Poul Henningsen was a Danish author, architect and critic. He was a leading cultural figure in Denmark and is best known internationally for his PH series of lights for Louis Poulsen.
Henningsen was the illegitimate son of author Agnes Henningsen and satirist Carl Ewald. He spent a happy childhood in a tolerant and modern home in Ordrup, which was often visited by the leading literates. Between 1911 and 1917 he was educated as an architect, but he never graduated and tried himself as an inventor and painter. His childhood would influence his later work. Having grown up in a small Danish town without electricity, Henningsen wanted to recreate the soft gas lighting of his youth in his electric fixtures. The science of light would play as much a role in the PH designs as the pure aesthetics of the lamp.
Variations of the PH lamp design were made to accommodate various functions and spaces, and within a few years of its introduction the PH lamps was being used across Scandinavia. Although Denmark has contributed many classic pieces of modern design, few have truly achieved the sort of international iconic status of Poul Henningsen’s PH lamp. Today his name is almost synonymous with modern electrical lighting and he is regarded as a 20th century pioneer.