POUL KJAERHOLM (Danish, 1929-1980)
PK 54 Dining Table, E. Kold Christensen, Denmark, ca. 1965
Norwegian Porsgrund marble and matte chrome-plated steel
55" W x 25.5" H
Furniture designer Poul Kjæerholm (Danish, 1929 - 1980) began his career as a cabinetmaker’s apprentice in 1948 before attending the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen in 1952. After his education, he created furniture for E. Kold Christiansen, producing an extensive variety of pieces. While his output was varied, his aesthetic was apparent early in his career, implementing his PK minimalist style as early as 1952.
While Kjærholm embraced the minimalistic style of Danish design at the time, he used metal as his primary material rather than wood, balancing the metal with leather, cane, marble, or wood. He explained, “Steel’s constructive potential is not the only thing that interests me; the refraction of light on its surface is an important part of my artistic work. I consider steel a material with the same artistic merit as wood and leather.” Inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld, and Mies van der Rohe, his work is imbued with a love for clarity, perfection, and detail.
Kjærholm won the Lunning Award in 1958 for his PK22 chair as well as the Grand Prize at the Milan Triennial in 1957 and 1960. In 1967 he was awarded the Danish ID Prize for his contributions for design, becoming the head of the Institute for Design in 1973. In 2006 he had a major retrospective at the Louisiana Modern Art Museum in Denmark, and his work is in the permanent collection of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.