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PK52A Student Desk

c. 1955

by Poul Kjærholm
for Carl Hansen & Søn

PK52A Student Desk

by Poul Kjærholm
for  Carl Hansen & Søn

or Call to Order

The PK52A Student Desk was designed in 1955 by Poul Kjærholm for Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The Academy needed a number of desks for its lectur­ers and students, and Kjærholm, who had just joined the faculty as a lecturer, designed a PK52 Profes­sor Desk along with the PK52A Student Desk. During the design process, Kjærholm drew on his expe­ri­ence as both a cabi­net­maker and a furni­ture designer, redis­cov­er­ing the synthe­sis between crafts­man­ship and indus­trial design along the way. The desks, which are distin­guished by a clean, light expres­sion, helped estab­lish Kjærholm as a one-of-a-kind furni­ture designer with an intu­itive feel for the inher­ent poten­tial of his chosen materials.

The profes­sor and Student Desks’ light and simple design comple­ments both modern and classic décors and show­cases the exquis­ite inter­play between mate­ri­als that became Poul Kjærholm’s signa­ture. Kjærholm elegantly combined a coated steel frame with a veneer coun­ter­top and refined some of the design concepts that came to define his furni­ture – partic­u­larly the trade­mark float­ing table­top. The series also reflects the designer’s well-known atten­tion to detail and demand for arti­sanal finishes. With their precise expres­sion and execu­tion, the desks embody the crafts­man­ship virtues that define Carl Hansen and Søn. Both designs can serve as desks, dining room tables, or beau­ti­ful work­ta­bles for draft­ing rooms or offices. The pieces are also equally at home in hotel rooms and other envi­ron­ments marked by simple, modern aesthetics.

Both the PK52 Profes­sor Desk and the PK52A Student Desk are avail­able with Oregon pine veneer or oak veneer table­tops with an oiled, lacquered, or black-painted surface, and a black or gray-lacquered steel frame, with or without a drawer unit. The drawer unit, PK115, is avail­able in oiled, varnished, or black- painted oak.


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 Ole 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.

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