A purist, Poul Kjærholm is known for his modern, functionalist furniture, praised for its understated elegance and clean lines. His uncompromising goal of “making form a part of function” helps peel away the superfluous, creating a refined, timeless and utilitarian object.
Kjærholm, born in 1929, studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen where he would later teach from 1952-56. In 1976 he was appointed Professor of Furniture Design at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy. His rigour and attention to detail have won him a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the V&A Museum in London and other museum collections in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany.
Throughout his tenure, he insisted on structural clarity and technical quality, emphasising its application in the design of everyday objects by celebrating the assembly details and showing the components of every object. His furniture quickly benchmarked Danish design, as did his objects, leading the way in the development of the austere, yet functional style that would help define this era. Kjærholm’s philosophy embraced sustainability as a timeless expression, stressing the importance of using materials that age beautifully. While demanding precision in both the creation and manufacturing of his designs, he was known to never let a design out the door that he did not deem “perfect”.