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Poul Kjærholm

Denmark (1929–1980)

The work of Poul Kjærholm was at once deeply rooted in the Danish furni­ture tradi­tion and inspired by artis­tic move­ments all over Europe. The German Bauhaus School, furni­ture design­ers Gerrit Rietveld, Mies van der Rohe, and Charles Eames, as well as Danish furni­ture designer Kaare Klint and his contem­po­raries, all contributed to shaping Kjærholm as a furniture designer.

Kjærholm made a name for himself primar­ily with his func­tion­al­ist steel, leather, and glass furni­ture, although he orig­i­nally trained as a cabi­net­maker in hjør­ring, Denmark in 1949. he then went on to study furni­ture design at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts (now the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design) in Copen­hagen, grad­u­at­ing in 1952 and return­ing again to teach shortly after. In 1955, he became a lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and was appointed a profes­sor in 1976, succeed­ing Olé Wanscher. Kjærholm remained at the Academy until his death in 1980.

Through­out his work – as both an educa­tor and a furni­ture designer – Kjærholm made func­tion and clarity his hall­marks. What­ever mate­r­ial he worked with, Kjærholm, in his own quiet way, allowed the furni­ture to speak its own simple language. An ideal­ist in his field, he refrained from easy solu­tions and never allowed himself to be guided by changing fads.

Driven by the dual desire to realize each material’s inher­ent nature and to create harmony between mate­r­ial and form, Kjærholm often felt that there was only one solu­tion to a given problem. He was a demand­ing teacher guided by perfec­tion­ism and disci­pline, his ideal­is­tic approach to design also mani­fest­ing itself among his students.


Designs by Poul Kjærholm (3)