1929, Oster Vra, Danemark – 1980, Hillerod, Danemark
Poul Kjaerholm est l’un des grands designers danois. Décédé prématurément, il a laissé néanmoins un grand nombre de chaises, de canapés et de tables qui sont devenus des références, telle la chaise PK 22 (1956) ou le pliant PK 31 (1961). Bien que maître ébéniste de formation, il a surtout créé des meubles destinés à être produits en série. Très perfectionniste, Poul Kjaerholm s’est attaché à marier différents matériaux comme l’acier, le cuir, le tissu ou la vannerie, telle la chaise longue PK 24 (1965) qui n’est pas sans rappeler celle de Le Corbusier. Depuis le milieu des années 50, Poul Kjaerholm a travaillé exclusivement pour le fabricant de meubles E. Kold Christensen. Il a remporté de nombreux prix dont le grand prix à la Triennale de Milan (1957, 1960) et le prix Lunning (1958). En 1976, il est nommé professeur à l’Académie royale des Arts de Copenhague. Depuis 1982, c’est la firme Fritz Hansen qui édite ses meubles.
Poul Kjaerholm (1929-1980) designed modern functionalist furniture that was praised for its understated elegance and clean lines. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen where he would later teach, from 1952-56. He went on to become a lecturer and professor in the furniture and interior design department at the Academy of Art from 1957-76. Although he was formally trained as a cabinetmaker, Kjaerholm was a strong proponent for industrial production, and his work stands out among that of his Danish contemporaries because of his extensive use of steel frames rather than the traditional wood. He did, however, design many of his seats in natural materials like cane, canvas, leather and rope.
Kjaerholm designed mainly for Fritz Hansen and, after 1955, E. Kold Christensen Ltd. Unlike many other Danish designers from the period, his work appeared at very few of the Copenhagen Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibitions because he was working with newer materials. Although he maintained a close relationship with natural woods and traditional processes, his work was geared more towards mass production and the energy of the modern movement. Kjaerholm was awarded the Lunning Prize in 1958 and worked as an exhibition designer in Denmark and abroad.