E. Kold Christensen
Although there is little to no historical information available regarding the manufacturer E. Kold Christensen or the man himself, the company itself was instrumental in furthering Danish industrial designer Poul Kjærholm’s career. The pair formed a partnership and friendship that lasted over two decades, producing some of Kjærholm’s most well known work.
Danish entrepreneur Ejvind Kold Christensen started his career as a sales manager for the furniture manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn. In 1949, the astute Kold Christensen introduced Hans J. Wegner to Holger Hansen, after seeing great potential in the young and virtually unknown designer. In 1951, the pair, along with Kold Christensen formalized their partnership and formed a sales group called SALESCO, which was a unique marketing team charged with promoting Hans J. Wegner’s work in Denmark and abroad. Kold Christensen left Carl Hansen & Søn and SALESCO in order to work with a new promising designer, Poul Kjærholm. Sometime between 1955 and 1956 Kold Christensen founded his eponymous company for the sole purpose of producing Kjærholm’s designs.
While most of his contemporaries were designing entirely with wood, Kjærholm choose to exploit unnatural materials such as steel, in combination with natural ones like wood, canvas and leather. Admiring the refraction of light that the metal produced, he used steel frames extensively in his work. He was also a strong proponent of industrial production and maintained the belief that architecture was an important component in furniture design. Kjærholm’s pieces were named by number only, signifying his dedication to create furniture that would be recognized for its form. E. Kold Christensen had a deep understanding of Kjærholm’s aesthetic and gave him complete artistic freedom with his designs. The first successful piece produced by the partnership was a minimalist chair that is reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe’s famous Barcelona Chair (1929). The PK22 (1956), which was designed from a single sheet of steel, was an instant commercial success launching both the designer's and manufacturer's careers. In 1957, the chair won the Grand Prix at Milan’s Triennale. Famous designs from this fruitful partnership include Kjærholm’s PK61 coffee table (1955), PK80 daybed (1957), PK33 stool (1959), PK9 Tulip Chair (1961), and the wicker and steel PK24 chaise lounge (1965).
Kjærholm and Kold Christensen worked closely together until the untimely death of the former in 1980. The pieces produced from this period are highly sought-after and sell for soaring prices. In 1982, Fritz Hansen took over the production and sales of The Kjærholm Collection, which includes designs developed from 1951 to 1967. In 2007, Fritz Hansen added to the collection, with the PK8 side chair and PK58 dining tables, neither of which had previously been in production.