We say ‘skol!’ to poet, play wright, architect,
journalist, social critic and all-round lighting god
Poul Henningsen, who famously ‘bowed to destiny’
when he created the classic PH5 for Louis Poulsen.
As Scandinavian as pickled herring, it is, along with
the Artichoke, one of the most enduring designs to
emerge from a lifetime’s search for the perfect glare-free pendant.
The task light that won a war. Churchill drew up his
plans under Robert Dudley Best’s classic but this,
Britain’s first taste of Bauhaus, was nearly never
made. Best had trouble persuading his father to
make the ‘suspect’ continental design at his factory
in Birmingham, and when the first batch was
bought by auto mechanics, it was an inauspicious
start. Then Hitler invaded Poland…
George Carwardine’s hugely-influential task lamp
is the one light fitting you can count on to make
an appearance in polls of classic product designs.
Carwardine famously designed car suspension
systems and the Anglepoise was a bit of a spin-off
from one of his spring designs. Originally called the
Equipoise, it was licenced to spring-maker Herbert
Terry & Sons and well, the rest is history.
1958: PH ARTICHOKE
The Artichoke remains top of most lighting
designers’ wish lists. Poul Henningsen – who also
gave us the classic PH5 – came up with the design
47 years ago, and it’s remained a unique masterpiece
ever since. Direct light from the source strikes the
white undersides of the 72 scales and is reflected in
the underlying upper sides of the scales. Simple –
and very beautiful.