Poul Kjærholm

Denmark

Born in ØsterVrå, Denmark in 1929, designer Poul Kjaerholm began his career as a cabinetmaker’s apprentice in 1948. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1952, and subsequently taught there until 1956. He was a lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1959, head of the Institute of Design in 1973, and became a professor there in 1976.

Kjaerholm’s furniture designs were characterized by a simple aesthetic that stripped away ornament in favor of clean lines and materials-based beauty. He used steel frames extensively in his work, often in combination with natural materials such as wood, cane, and leather, and was a strong proponent of industrial production.

Kjaerholm designed dozens of chairs and tables, including the iconic PK22 and PK24 chairs, and E. Kold Christensen and Fritz Hansen produced several of his designs. His myriad awards include the Grand Prix at the Milan Trienale (in both 1957 & 1960) and the Lunning Award (1958). Kjaerholm’s designs are in the permanent collections of major museums across the globe. In 2006, he was the subject of a major retrospective at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.