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Design Icon: PH Artichoke Lamp

Up close with the PH Artichoke.
A luminous work of art, suspended in mid air, cleverly disguised as a lamp.
Designed by the master of light, Poul Henningsen.

Today we pay tribute to the PH Artichoke; one of the essential design lamps by one of the most gifted Danish architect/designers of the twentieth century, Poul Henningsen.  This brilliant pendant lamp is, for good reason, included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.  The PH Artichoke, designed by Poul Henningsen in 1958, is widely considered to be a classical masterpiece of mid century modern design, an elegant study in light, redefined. A fitting lamp for both traditional- and modern interior settings, the PH Artichoke presents the perfect fusion between form and function.

Danish architect Poul Henningsen, known commonly by his initials PH was obsessed with light and dedicated his life towards the creation of captivating light fixtures.  Widely considered as the first 'lighting architect', the PH Artichoke is perhaps his most lustrous creation.  The PH Artichoke was created out of a genuine sense of indignation. Poul Henningsen pronounced that glare - harsh, dazzling light - was a fundamental problem with the electric light bulb (makes us wonder how he would have felt about today's harsh CFL lighting). Determined to solve this problem, he formed the vision that led to the creation of the PH Artichoke. The PH Artichoke is composed of 12 arches with 72 overlying leaves. Designed in a way that you will never see it's light bulb, no matter from what angle you look at it, the PH Artichoke provides a soft glare-free light around 360 degrees.

Poul Henningsen designed the first PH Artichoke lamps for the 'Langelinie Pavillion' restaurant in Copenhagen, where you can still see the PH Artichoke lamps today. Although Poul Henningsen originally named it the 'Pinecone' lamp because of its shape, it was renamed Artichoke in the late 1950s.

We dread cheap knock-offs so if you care about authenticity and have the money
to spare, make sure to get the authentic licensed edition made by Louis Poulsen
in Denmark, the original manufacturer of all Poul Henningsen light fixtures.
The quality of the PH Artichoke Lamp produced by Louis Poulsen is
truly unsurpassed, exactly the way Poul Henningsen intended it to be.

Text and Image Credits: Lucia Fontana for moderndesign.org